Re cats post 6.17
We know someone who works for a massive internationally well known company and they have always behaved this way. You are employed to work, say, 37 hours per week but its not unusual to be told - you will be working until 8 every evening this week and on Saturday and Sunday OK. You can arrive for work in the morning and be sent home to do night shift for the rest of the week. They have always done this and no one thinks its unusual. They just go along with it not complaining, and no the wages and holiday entitlements are not great - just average for the UK.
Our friend was asked to relocate, some 100 miles to another plant. When he pointed out that this would mean, closing his wifes business, uprooting a child in the middle of exams, leaving elderly parents along with all the stress of moving house, his manager just said - well whats your problem? They were outraged when he refused.
I think these practices are more common than we would like to believe.