What's work like at the club?


What is your position in the club and what defines it?

S My name is S., and I would like to remain anonymous, hence the initial. I work in the cleaning department of a well-known club in Berlin. My primary tasks include cleaning the toilets, but I also handle other general cleaning duties, all of which are carried out only during events.

Foto: Jean-Pierre Martineau

How does the start of your usual working day look like?

S As the club can host up to several thousand visitors per event and remains open for up to 30 hours straight, the role of toilet cleaning is more or less crucial for the guests. Approximately every 4-6 hours, a restroom is emptied and tidied up by the cleaning crew for the guests: empty bottles are collected, toilets are unclogged and wiped clean if necessary, toilet paper is refilled, sinks are cleared, and finally, the floor is swept. Additionally, there may be awareness related and initial contact tasks if there is an incident while we are in the toilets. If such a situation arises, we contact the door staff, and they handle all further steps.

Please roughly sketch out day-to-day work routines, that you face in your job.

S The initial steps are to enter the toilet area, be visible as a cleaner, and ask the guests to leave the area for cleaning and to ask the people in the cabins to hurry up. Since the toilets are usually very loud and crowded, I have to shout in German and English to make sure everyone understands what's going on. My colleague remains at the door to monitor that people only exit and do not re-enter. Once all guests have been escorted out, the cleaning described above begins. When we're done, the door is opened, and all waiting guests are let in first. Once the room is filled and the exit is clear, we return to the dressing room to store our work materials, such as squeegees or leftover toilet paper. There, we also wash and disinfect our hands or arms.

How is your contact with other workers from the same area of work? How is your contact with other working areas (production, reproduction or administration)?

S In my own crew, the contact with colleagues is such that we usually work as a team when shifts overlap. The work is then shared exclusively since it would be too stressful and time-consuming to clean the toilets alone during peak times. We also have channels where we can stay in touch outside of work and communicate about work or sometimes private matters. I would generally describe the relationship as collegial. There are conflicts from time to time, but they are usually resolved in a fair manner. The break and dressing room are partly shared with bar and runner staff. I have hardly any contact with employees outside of the night crew and from the administrative area, except with the HR or finance department for contract matters or similar issues when they arise.