A day in the life of a painter and decorator

A day in the life of a painter and decorator: “I’m a ragged trousered philanthropist”

My day starts at about 3.20am, answering to my 18-month old daughter’s cries of cutting those important new teeth. My, how teeth take up so much of our time!

I like to think I’ll always be there to comfort my daughter when she needs me but I have to be up for work in the next three hours.

At 6.15am my alarm rings and it’s time to get ready for work. If my daughter is up I let her attempt to brush those teeth of hers along with mine and then we go downstairs to change, sort breakfast out and make lunch.

I thank science for the all-important thermal flask, without which the entirety of my lunch box would be like the weather: cold!

Usually once my lunch is done, my wife is up and ready to take over the parenting and I’m out the door, in the van and off to work. I am a ragged trousered philanthropist. In other words, a painter and decorator who teaches socialism free of charge.

Like the vast majority of tradespeople I am self-employed, bound by a ‘zero-hour contract’, I have no sick pay, no holiday pay, and no entitlements to rights as a worker. But for the moment I have paid work which will provide for my family. I work every day of the working week and sometimes weekends when necessary.

But I work with the joy of looking forward to getting home to spend the most valuable time I have with my daughter and wife, my family.

Life is for living and that is why we should fight for our rights to equality and justice. My current job is prepping and painting all the external windows on a large building which has about forty windows in total, so I’m outside in the elements.

On this job we have no welfare: no hot water, no flushing toilet and nowhere to even sit during lunch.

But we make do. My exploitation as a worker doesn’t stop there as currently I am also a sub-contractor out on loan to another company which basically means my labour creates three types of income. Two for the bosses and the leftovers for me.

With the Tories forever tightening the grip, I fought against those tax credit cuts which would have cost us even more of our ‘staying alive budget.’ The privileged party took a step back on that, which the working class should see as a small victory.