Staffing plan down the drain

No ordinary times . . . Wayne Sizemore Plumbers owner Wayne Sizemore is remaining positive in an uncertain economic climate. PHOTO: SHAWN MCAVINUE

Plans in the pipeline to hire an apprentice have gone down the drain, a Dunedin plumber says.

Wayne Sizemore Plumbers employs five staff, including the boss.

Mr Sizemore said before Covid-19 hit he was considering employing another apprentice but that plan was now off the table to ensure there was enough work to keep on his existing staff.

“It’s a worry.”

He had been a self-employed plumber in Dunedin for 36 years and never experienced anything like the economic uncertainty created by Covid-19.

“I’ve never worried so much.

“The guys who work for me are mates and you worry about their future as well as your own, because it’s all so uncertain.”

Tools were put down when the nation went into lockdown.

“It happened so quick was a shock.”

The Government’s wage subsidy was a “relief”.

Despite plumbers being classified as an essential service, he opted to not operate during Level 4.

“I didn’t want to put the fellows who work for me in a position they may not want to be in.”

When the nation entered Level 3 last week, most of the staff resumed working.

Now a normal workday included adhering to regulations such as recording the names and details of people staff made contact with and sanitising tools.

Since resuming work, the staff had been finishing the jobs they had been working on before lockdown but once those were finished it was uncertain how much work would be available.

“Things may tick along but then there could be a downturn.”

People who might have had plans to renovate their homes could be “gun shy” and postpone it until the full extent of the Covid-19 economic impact was revealed.

“That’s the unseen don’t know.”

He hoped the Dunedin Hospital rebuild would begin soon.

He doubted he would get work on the rebuild but bigger firms would, leaving opportunities for his business to secure smaller jobs.

“It’ll keep the wheels turning important for Dunedin.”