I've been working here for a few months as a developer. Some people in our team are always behind on their work, and our boss makes everyone come to work on the weekend so they can catch up. The rest of us don't need to be in the office, but he insists we all come in.
We don't get paid for working weekends. When this first started, my boss said we would get days off in lieu, which was why I agreed. But he hasn't said anything about this in the past few months. I asked a coworker about this, a person who has worked here for several years, and he says they tell you that so you don't feel bad, but they never bother to make up the extra time.
We end up working 2 to 3 weekends per month, and it's always one of two people who are behind deadline. Before I joined, they were working every weekend, and sometimes they even worked 7-day weeks up to 10 p.m. everyday, though I have never had to do that.
The people who are always behind on their work are fine with working weekends. They don't have lives outside work - they've actually said they wouldn't know what to do if they went home and they'd end up just staring at the ceiling.
I do have a life outside work and I don't want to be working weekends for no reason. I was okay with this at first because I thought I would get the days back, but I now know that I won't. I want to say something about this to my boss, but the concept of working weekends is considered so normal that I don't know how he'll react, especially since they were working every weekend before I joined. I've worked around 12 weekends now and it was always because of someone else.
Short of leaving, is there an effective strategy such that I could either avoid working weekends, or get the days back?