Day in the life of a janitor—local authority newsletter

The local authority newsletter is focusing on jobs across local authorities to show how valuable our public sector workers are and the hard work they put in under difficult conditions and often low pay.

Today our focus is on Rab (not his real name) who works for the City of Edinburgh Council as a janitor. Rab has worked for the council for over 15 years. He works 25 hours a week and his weekly earnings are a mere £240—nearly half of the UK’s average wage (£31,830).

Give a brief description of your work

I work 5 hours a day—those hours are flexible for the employer. I open up my workplace, make sure the rooms are safe and set up properly as directed by those using the facilities. I also shut and secure the premises.

Do you believe you have job security?

No—the way things are going everyone should be concerned. I don’t think any council job is safe. Thankfully I am heading towards retirement but anyone below the age of 50 must be really worried.

Do you feel at risk of COVID-19?

Yes, as facilities open and we have to return to work, I think we will all be vulnerable. I have no idea the background or lifestyle habits those using my workplace have and I am expected to trust they are behaving responsibly. My employer wants things to return to what they were pre-COVID.

Do you think you will be exposing your family to danger?

Yes – and if I bring the coronavirus home, I could give it to my wife and children. That’s a horrible thought.

What support did you receive from your employer?

I can’t think of any support I got. I had to phone my manager to keep in touch with work during the whole of lockdown. Never once did they contact or agree to contact me.

Do you think you are adequately paid?

No—with the amount of hassle I receive from my employer I deserve a decent pay rise. The treatment my colleagues and I receive is shocking. I find it hard to get motivated and question on a daily basis is it worth getting up!

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