Darren Rice, a toilet attendant at the Blue Planet Aquarium in Ellesmere Port has announced his intention to leave the organization in the January transfer window, citing a lack of willingness on the part of his employer to invest in new cleaning talent.
Rice, who receives the minimum wage, also claims he is now doing the job of two people since the departure of fellow cleaner Pedro left him starved of service. For Rice, though, it’s not about the money. He insists he is being forced to work long hours with sub-standard equipment in an environment which is often dark and smelly.
Rice’s options regarding a move are somewhat limited at present to the Aquatic section of nearby Chester Zoo or a large pet shop in Little Sutton that specializes in terrapins, the only local water-centric businesses that are currently seeking to recruit staff. He remains, however, upbeat about a possible move:
‘I’ve heard the toilet facilities at Chester Zoo are second-to-none,’ said Rice ‘And I’d love the chance to work with some of their big name cleaning products. I’ve been lead to believe they are very big on Cillit Bang - budgetary constraints are not an issue there. The sky’s the limit when it comes to killing all know germs – dead. ‘
Rice is contemptuous, in particular, of his employer’s insistence that he use Mr Muscle on toilet surfaces such as the cistern and the difficult-to-get-at rear outflow pipe:
‘Mr Muscle, although it comes in a handy dispenser and is good at shifting grease, is virtually useless at removing hardened faeces from the toilet enamel. Then there’s the whole Toilet Duck thing but I really don’t want to get bogged down in all that again, if you’ll forgive the pun. ’
Last night, however, bosses at the aquarium sought to counter Rice’s claims. Terry Dowling from Human Resources said:
‘We have been a very understanding employer and gave Darren a whole week off work to recuperate after his daughter died of meningitis, helping him through the subsequent period of alcoholism and often turned a blind eye when his punctuality suffered as a result. We even talked of hiring a counselor at one point but, I mean, they’re basically just bollocks aren’t they? ’
Rice, in the meantime, feels as though the lack of a long term strategy extends to the fish tank and claims visitor numbers have dwindled since Donnie a three year-old Dolphin was caught in a compromising position with his keeper in front of a party of school children from nearby Rock Ferry.
‘It was an utter shambles. A total embarrassement, ’ Rice admitted . ‘ You’re basically going to have a whole generation of teenagers growing up thinking that two hands is the correct way to wank off a dolphin. ’