Tourism brings 4.7 million people to Bournemouth annually, and is well known for its numerous bars, pubs and clubs. This industry has a symbiotic relationship with the numerous security businesses that operate in Dorset.
The majority of these security companies work in events and venues around the Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (BCP) council area; with some well established national companies having contracts for supermarket stores, like Tesco and Asda.
Since security workers are usually registered as self employed, they’ve not been eligible for the governments furlough scheme. For door supervisors in the BCP area this meant that there were two options left after the initial lockdown. Sign on for Universal Credit or find another job.
This initial frenzy to find employment meant that supermarket door supervisor jobs were snapped up quickly. Those who found themselves flagging behind were left to travel long distances to complete a 12 or 18 hour single contract.
Security Worker Dominika Cimaszewska, 26, had been working at the Bournemouth University Student’s Union club, The Old Fire Station, when the pandemic hit. She also provided security for the O2 academy and the Bournemouth International Centre. She spoke to BUzz to tell us about her experience working post pandemic.
She said: “I remember working on the day that the lockdown was announced. Everyone just thought what am I going to do now?
“Since security workers are considered self employed key workers, we’ve not been entitled to furlough pay. It was pretty difficult for some people as they were relying on that income and it was announced short notice.
“I can understand why the government did it, since if they were paying people furlough money when they are actually able to work, there would definitely be a shortage of workers.”
As the majority of security work in Bournemouth was based around the bar and nightclub industry, security workers have had to hunt for ‘one off’ jobs online. This was in stark contrast to being offered contracts through local companies.
Despite the change in work environments Dominika has still been able to find work.
She said: “There is still work but you do have to look for it. I usually would work in events, but the company I worked for sent me to do things like security at the port of Southampton.
“During the first lockdown when all the nightclub door supervisors were basically made redundant, the companies which specialise in retail and shop security kept most of the work for their existing staff rather than taking new people on, meaning that a lot of people were picking up the loose ends.
“Most of the work in Bournemouth was based around the events and bar industry. Since they’re all opening and closing around different lockdowns, there’s not really been much security in Bournemouth.
“I’ve moved out of the county since the first lockdown, which was always my plan, although the lack of work due to the lockdown was a contributing factor.”
Michelle Russell, is the chief executive of the Security Industry Authority. She applauded security workers in her End of Year speech and acknowledged their hardship this year. Furthermore she also commented on what the future of the industry looks like.
She said: “2021 brings hope for the future and an acknowledgement that the shape and size of the sector and workforce has and will continue to change.
“The impact of the pandemic on some sectors particularly in the hospitality, the night-time economy, festivals and events industries has been felt hard and it is likely that recovery will take some considerable time.”
As the world has changed with the pandemic so too has the security industry. Indeed, it remans to be seen when, if ever, we will see the return of the nightclub bouncer.
Many industries have been affected by COVID. Our reporter Lara Tarabey found out how the marketing industry was impacted.