Night workers: Market Trader
Zaheer came from Pakistan in 2009 at the age of 25. His extended family helped him to settle when he arrived to the UK. He is married and has a 6 month old daughter. He studied a BSc in Business at Oxford Brooks University and then an MSc in Business Management.
Although he made a large investment in his education it did not help him to fulfil his dream. His plan was to finish his masters and then work in finance. Instead he works near the financial heart of London at a fish market separated by the small stream of Thames and a high chain-link fence.
[h3]‘I am a good citizen’ [/h3]
When he came to this country, his family supported him to study, travel abroad, and get residence rights. He said: “I am a good citizen and they leave me alone.” However, he said that,
“When migrants arrive they are confronted with three main problems:
1. Culture shock
2. Poor English language skills
3. Racism preventing them to get jobs”
Zaheer does not think he is representative of a normal migrant because his family supported him when he arrived. When talking about his dream of being a city worker in finances, he seems to be short on luck. After applying and applying with no result, he was forced to turn to other options, such as night work at the fish market.
[h3]Night work as a way of life[/h3]
Zaheer is one of the 300,000 permanent night workers in the UK. He has been working as a night worker at the market because his boss (who is Indian) offered him a job doing the graveyard shift. He works between 03:00 – 10:00am from Tuesday to Saturday. The graveyard shift suits him because he has never been able to sleep at night since he was a child. Throughout university he completed all of his coursework during the night. Even though he does not work on Sundays and Mondays, he still wakes up at 4am. Zaheer said he is happy with the job, especially as it helps with family life. He can see his daughter and wife all day and still sleep 4-5 hours before he goes to work. But if he had to work 12 hour shifts, he does not think he would continue night work.