Day in the life of a warden—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 we focus on John* who works in the Highlands and Islands region as a warden. John works as a warden and is on a mere £9.50 per hour. This means that John only receives around half of the UK’s average wage (£31,830). He has to work a second job to supplement the poor income he receives from his employer.

Give a brief description of your work

I work nightshift. I am responsible for over a dozen properties in my area, the majority of which are occupied. If there is an issue, I’m there to resolve it.

During the day I am also expected to undertake welfare check of the tenants. I am responsible for escalating any issues to the appropriate department, whether it is for the maintenance of the properties or reports to social work for tenants wellbeing.

Do you believe you have job security?

No – I think every job is under review at the moment. I know mine will most likely be. I feel very vulnerable.

Do you feel at risk of COVID-19?

Yes, I have worked through lockdown and whilst my primary job does not put me at high risk my second job does and I have no option but to do both as neither of these jobs pay enough for me and my family to survive.

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

Yes—and that was my real major worry at the height of the virus. It’s
unthinkable what I could be bringing into the family home.

What support did you receive from your employer?

I received the authority’s procedures by email when they were produced
and my line manager kept in touch with me by phone. To be honest, they
didn’t have adequate information, but they always shared what they had.

Do you think you are adequately paid?

No—for the level of responsibility I have I deserve a decent pay rise. My
wife and I are both on very low wages, but our bills are the same as
everyone else. I shouldn’t have to struggle as much as I do.

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