A LETTER I HAVE JUST WRITTEN TO SEND TO MY COMPANY'S HEAD OFFICE!!
Mr **** *******
I am an employee of SOLL Daventry where I am currently working as a leisure assistant. This letter is written in confidence concerned with the current rate of pay we receive. I am certain that what I say can be said on behalf of all the other leisure assistants in this site and that many other staff in the building would agree.
I think it is first important to remember the roll of the leisure assistant. In no way do I mean to sound pretentious, but I think we need to remember some key facts. I don’t think that it can be argued by anyone that lifeguards have tremendous responsibility. The responsibility to ensure safety in the pool at all times and if necessary provide aid, including getting in the water and potentially giving CPR which in some cases can have unwanted psychological effects on the lifeguard. This is my first reason. I don’t think we can honestly be asked to undergo such duress for only minimum wage. Secondly, we hold a national qualification which makes us able to do what we do. We put our own time, effort and in most cases a lot of money into doing the course and further training every month so we can uphold the pool rules and safety. Some of the lifeguards view is that they could get a higher paying job without a qualification elsewhere. We are trained people to do a specific job, which not everyone can do, so surely be eligible for higher than minimum wage if not even slightly?
I believe employee motivation is key to a well run facility. Although SOLL Daventry is popular and amply run, I think it could be better. Our rate of pay is the first issue that lifeguards have here. It is made even more apparent when the senior management of the centre fail to treat us as adults. Granted, we’ve only just got there, but perhaps some trust and understanding would help. We would be better motivated to do our work, which as you know includes lifeguarding, a number of cleaning tasks each day, sporting equipment and function set-ups if we were paid more. In an ideal world this would eliminate two problems. The first problem is the quality of work currently done through the lack of motivation and the second being some senior management treating us like infants due to the quality of work. I’m not saying a pay increase would result in a pristine staff turn out and perfectly completed job without being asked, but i’m sure there would be an improvement. Largely things are done on time at the moment and there are little issues coming from club members back to the staff, so don’t feel as if i’m telling you work isn’t being completed. There is however I feel a serious lack of motivation to work which creates negativity among staff, making work arduous. I feel that the company’s vision (POPPIE) is not being met by staff due to this lack of motivation and if SOLL wishes to uphold its vision then I believe something should be done.
Another point that has come to mine and many others attention is that of the gym staff. It is well known that the gym staff get paid more than us. Now I don’t begrudge their payment at all, but their job is one with a qualification like our own and whilst they do interact with customers throughout the day, demonstrating equipment use amongst other things, they are not involved in the cleaning tasks we have on any scale, nor any of the other jobs we do. I am aware they have to remain in the gym for the tenure of their shift, but the bottom line is we both have different qualifications and ours carries a greater amount of responsibility as ours is essentially saving people from possible death and preserving that life until the emergency services arrive. It is evident on a day to day basis that this could easily happen. We are there to prevent an accident occurring by guiding people in their use of the swimming pool. I can remember far too many times where I have had to stop people from doing things which could have resulted in serious injury.
I began to work at Daventry Leisure Centre on September 1st 2008. I set out to raise money for the UK charity Raleigh International. I used all of my own wages towards helping others in India. I ended up raising £3000, into which the vast majority of my wages were put for four months and I managed to go out to India after paying additional money for flights and help build in villages for 10 weeks. I am telling you this, because I think it is prudent that I make it aware what motivated me through four months of work at Daventry leisure centre. I was motivated by a charity that I am extremely passionate for. As you are more than likely aware the current economic climate prohibits a lot of people getting jobs, but luckily my qualification and recent history with Daventry Leisure Centre enabled me to return to a job upon my return which I am grateful for. Since my employment in the centre I have voluntarily been trained in reception, coffee shop and membership sales in an attempt to enrich myself and my time there .I am proud to have a job, especially as a lifeguard. I don’t like to see a job done badly so I aim to put all of my effort into the job when I am on shift, but unfortunately as I have explained in this letter, not everyone wants to work like this, because of my reasons above. Even I, feel sometimes that I shouldn’t be demeaned to this job. This is often the thought process of many of the leisure assistants in the centre on a day to day basis which has a ripple effect. One which is quickly catching on. I am aware that Daventry have been given funding to buy a new inflatable for the swimming pool. Surely there must be some funding available or scope to improve the pay of the lifeguards. After all, the workforce should be the first part of the business that is treated well as a business cannot run without it. I’m not saying an inflatable isn’t good for the centre, because it certainly is, but I believe a job as important as this should be treated with respect and rewarded properly.
I apologise for the length of this letter, but I believed it necessary to express my thoughts to you. I hope you understand this perspective and if it is not head office who can administer any changes, I only hope that you can support what I have written to you and that some action will be taken. I look forward to hearing from you.