Guest blog: Adam Harding, Phoenix Events ‘The importance of the Living Wage for security workers, even in the hardest of times for our security and events industry.’
Living Wage Employer Phoenix Events (East) are a local security and events firm based in Norwich, with over 15 years’ experience in events management, as well as security, stewarding, traffic management. Director Adam Harding shares the challenges for the events industry during covid-19, how they’ve adapted business and ultimately why he believes the real Living Wage is now as important as ever, in light of the crisis.
As a new name in the events industry, 2020 was always going to be tough. We have just celebrated our second birthday in May. This is the year that makes or breaks any new business - the year we would make our mark or fall, like many unfortunately do. We started the year with 150+ events in our calendar - not full, but definitely on the way – and many of these fell during prime dates like the recent May Bank Holiday weekend.
Then Covid-19 took hold. Our events started to drop in numbers as the crisis become more and more serious. We were managing events right up until the Government lockdown was imposed. The uncertainty in the industry meant the phone did not stop, with people postponing and cancelling their events, and this has only increased as time has passed.
However, despite this, we were not be beaten, and would use the time we have been given to come back bigger and better once the green light was given, writing off 2020, with a view that any business that does happen would be a bonus. Luckily for us, we have a couple of sites where we provide security services, so we’ve focused our energy here to start, temperature-checking workers in the factory, making sure they sanitised each time they entered, and followed a one-way system. Our team have been instrumental in keeping people safe at work during this crisis. We have also been protecting several high value buildings, due to stock being delivered, but not going out, as a result of Covid-19. Some of the work we’re now doing includes making sure our market keeps to a one-way system, in order to adhere to social distancing guidelines, and providing security and stewards for a council that we frequently work with for events. Its just supporting them in whatever way we can during these times. Security is an important part of the puzzle, as we begin re-opening businesses and public spaces post-crisis.
We have taken the time to work with several major new events, and begin the planning for next year, when we will return. All our staff have been inducted in "extra stay" training, and the Hidden Disabilities Scheme. We have stayed positive, and kept up the hard work, which is our ethos. One of the most important things is keeping in regular contact with our staff and customers - this goes a long way - working together and helping each other in any way we can, to make the best of the current situation.
I think being a Living Wage Employer is especially important in an industry like ours, as it’s typically known for being a low-paid one, with zero-hour contracts and short shifts the norm. Paying the real Living Wage makes it more worthwhile for those working shorter shifts, with employees feeling more valued and part of the team, paying off in the loyalty your staff returns to your organisation.
Two members of our team, Danny and Larrisa, share the differences earning the real Living Wage has made to them, and why they enjoy working for Phoenix Events:
“Earning a real Living Wage has made a difference to me as a teenager, I am now able save up for the important steps in the future, such as driving lessons, I also have money to look after myself and to buy both my family and friends and myself things when they need them. Which makes me happy not relying on them.” - Larrisa Hunns
“It's a real pleasure to be outside during the summer and providing everyone a safe and secure environment so we can all enjoy the events on behalf of Phoenix Events (East) Ltd. Looking forward to working with team again after this pandemic is over!” - Danny Burns
The most important thing right now is that everyone is safe and well, and whilst we love event season and meeting all the fantastic customers, we know we will be back again very soon. Stay safe.
Adam Harding, Director
Phoenix Events (East) Ltd