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Topic: Slavery is alive and well and living in London...  (Read 1004 times)

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Slavery is alive and well and living in London...
« on: March 07, 2004, 09:29:57 PM »
I don’t know how to begin, except first to introduce myself and tell you that I’ve been reading these boards for over a year now, trying to get up enough gumption to make this post.

I’m in my 40’s a female and here since October 2001 now on FLR (Work permit- good now until 2006). I had started a small company from the US and it was acquitred by this UK company and I too was acquired at a very high excutive title.

When I came here this was going to be my dream job. nd people were so proud of me too.  What I do is unique. My company had to work very hard to get me a work permit because I’m not an IT guy just let it suffice to say that we had to prove to the home office that I was the only person in the world capable of doing my particular job and were successful.

That should be terrific right? Well I adore it here so part of it is but what’s not is that my employer cut my salary to one half of what it is supposed to be ( by telling me he would have to shut down the company otherwise, therefore, he claims I agreed to the pay cut, I suppose I did.. sort of.)

In July of last year we needed to file for a second work permit, because the first one was about to expire.  whereupon he lied to the home office and told them I was on my old salary.  This was done under the guise that “things would be back to normal this year anyway”.  It’s been hard living on London my salary, I’ve taken out a loan, and defaulted on my credit cards, and recently been evicted from my flat, now living in a room over the office (for which I am dunned for Rent each month).

While that bit sounds horrible, what is worse is the constant abuse.  I have had my job title taken from me, (Formerly it was a very high title, and as I write this, I still haven’t been told what my new title is). I am expected to do sales for one of our US oriented products.

Okay companies struggle, I understand that. Technically I did agree to the paycut. ( Which I did out of loyalty and because it was my belief that the company would fold if I didn’t which is what I was told.)

What I did not agree to was to be verbally battered to the point that the tenants who live upstairs have asked me if I would like them to call the police the next time he starts on me.  It’s the kind of verbal battering that goes on for hours and hours and hours and it’s all about how bad I am at my job. Not screaming,well not often, mostly the over and over abuse that takes a toll so dramatic and even I have begun to believe what he says to me.

Then in November of last year, he hires away the sales manager of our competition.  At three times my salary.  I ask the question “If you cant afford to pay me X, why can you pay her XY & Z?”. I get no answers. Even though I’m supposed to be on the “executive team” I am told it’s none of my business what he pays anyone else.

Then the new woman brings in her flunkie employee at another 20K (which is far MORE than Im getting) and then she hires another sales person at 36 grand.).  I am expected to go sell sell sell and essentially support this "team" .

I am also expected not to tell any of these new hires how bad the money situation is.  I work in the same office with him and the others work remotely, so they only know what he tells them.

I have waited all my life to get here meaning London. it has been my dream.  Unfortunately I can’t give you more details via this post but there was a great deal of press over my job and promotion and I was so proud.  For various reasons, one of which being that I can’t go back to being what I was in the US I want to stay here in the UK, but can find no course of action that will allow me to escape this situation.

If I go to the home office and tell them the truth, at least the way that I See it, That I’m being kept pretty much in bondage because the Work Permit is tied to this company,  chances are very good I’ll be deported back to the US where I have burned all my bridges, have no job, no savings and no family to look to for help. Yeah they’ll slap this guys hands maybe, but that wont help me stay here.

I’m starting to get a name for myself, as a speaker and writer, but not yet at a high enough level where I can tell him to stuff it and support myself, even though I’d be living basically “Underground.”  aka illegally. The way I understand the law, I can’t apply for ILR until 2005 anyway.  And now I’ve got a CCJ on my record and am worried that even if I can find someway to survive this hell Im in, I won’t be granted ILR anyway.

I don’t know what to do anymore,  if I were in the US I’d have told him to stick his job where the sun don’t shine and I would have gone and looked for something else, when he cut my pay.  I don’t have those options here in the UK, at least not legal options. He owns the house I now reside in, he copies all my e-mail at the server level, and has told me that if I ever intentionally “hurt” his company he would kill me with his own two hands and frankly I don’t think he’s got the balls for it, but I get to hear at least once a month that he would do it, which rules out going to the one competitor we have in our particular market, since I can’t be sure they wouldn’t tell him I’d talked to them.

I am trapped, feel like a slave, I work 20 hours a day some days haven’t in the two years I’ve been here made time to make friends because it was always work work work.  I don’t know what to do and I KNOW some of you will tell me that no job is worth this and while you’re right, going back to the US for me, isn’t an option. Neither is staying where I’m at.  

Has anyone ever heard of ILR being granted early? And Under what circumstances? Does anyone have any idea what will happen if he fires me finally (Let’s face it, suddenly I’m not much of a team player in his eyes) How long does it take to be deported? What options would I have? Is there anywhere I can go to get some no cost legal advice? But having said that it’s got to be completely anonymous, because if he finds out, I’m on the streets without a pot to you know what in… or perhaps worse.

God, I hate this I know there’s not enough information here for anyone to really make much sense of it all, but I’m terrified at putting too much information in for fear of it getting back to him, the net believe it or not is a very small place in our line of work.

I feel like a slave and every single day is a little bit more like dying and I know there is no way for me to be able to make it here until October of 2005 for ILR. Can anyone think of any course of action that would allow me to stay in the UK and work?

Thanks for reading, please I know this reads like a soap opera but it’s currently my life so be gentle on me, you don’t know how hard I worked to get here, I sold my US company to this creep now he owns it, and I have a £400 per month room in his house which I must pay the rent on time for and not much else. If I had plenty of money I’d take him to court, but that means having a safe place to go to and without friends, that’s harder than it seems.  Further I am the "creative talent"  and could start it up again from a computer in my living room with a little help and he knows it, which makes me a signifcant threat even on his good days. I thought I was strong, but even I am not strong enough to smile for the cameras so to speak and live in this hell when no one else is looking.

If anyone has any thoughts at all, please post them I’ll be monitoring the boards and can get in touch selectively.

Thank you for letting me post this, I’m sorry it’s such a downer.

Re: Slavery is alive and well and living in London
« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2004, 10:16:56 PM »
A.  Start keeping a journal of EVERYTHING that has happened, everything that continues to happen and what this man says to you.

B.  Take legal advice.  Very often you will be able to find solicitors who offer a free consultation.  Call around, find someone and GO.  

What this man is doing is VERY wrong, UNethical and ILlegal.

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Re: Slavery is alive and well and living in London
« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2004, 11:17:49 AM »
I'm really sorry to hear about your situation.  It sounds really, really horrible and I can completely understand how you are feeling.  

Have you been in touch with the Citizens Advice Bureau?  (http://www.nacab.org.uk/)  It isn't just for UK citizens, despite the name.  Under the "immigration and asylum" section on that website, you may be able to find some help for your situation.

Other than that, all I can offer is (((hugs))) and a cup of coffee sometime!  There are lots of us in and around London....so if you ever just need to talk, feel free to get in touch.  

Please keep us updated on how things are going, ok?  You shouldn't have to put up with this sort of situation!  

Best of luck.  

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Re: Slavery is alive and well and living in London
« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2004, 12:15:01 PM »
I have no real words of advice to you on this one, I'm sorry - but I can offer my sympathy, it sounds like you are in an absolute nightmare of a situation. But I'll ditto the advice Wishstar and elle have you, they are smart cookies. :D

HUG to you... please vent some more if you need to, and know that we'll totally respect your anonymity...
I'm done moving. Unrepatriated back to the UK, here for good!

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Re: Slavery is alive and well and living in London
« Reply #4 on: March 08, 2004, 01:00:09 PM »
I'll second what elle and Wishstar said.  You need to get out of there...but I'd suggest doing it quietly, because it sounds like this man is a serious threat to your health, if not your life.

Be careful and good luck.

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Re: Slavery is alive and well and living in London
« Reply #5 on: March 08, 2004, 01:07:40 PM »
I can only echo everyone else, get some legal advice from someone who knows the ins and outs of the system. CAB is a very good place to start.

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