A campaign to promote good working conditions in the cleaning industry has been launched by an industry-led taskforce, which included the British Cleaning Council.
Set up by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, the taskforce, chaired by EHRC Deputy Chair Caroline Waters, includes leading businesses, trade associations and trade unions.
The Commission convened the taskforce following publication of its report The Invisible Workforce: employment practices in the cleaning sector. This set out our findings on employment practices in the commercial cleaning sector in England, Scotland and Wales.
The report found many examples of good practice. These included cleaning firms with policies in place to promote equality and also clients who enter into longer-term contracts. These help firms to develop positive relationships with suppliers and also encourage investment in workforce development, leading to greater job stability.
The report also found that some employers did not provide contracts to staff. Further, some failed to pay their employees in full, or to pay sickness or holiday leave entitlements Many cleaning operatives are female migrants, who spoke of being ‘invisible’, of being treated badly compared to other employees, and said they did not understand their rights.
To solve these problems the taskforce developed principles for responsible procurement. The purpose of this is to encourage clients who buy in cleaning services to consider the impact of procurement on the employment practices of cleaning providers. The taskforce also developed a poster to highlight the value of cleaning operatives, and Your Rights at Work postcards for cleaning firms to send to their employees explaining their employment rights.
BCC Chairman Simon Hollingbery Said:
” The BCC was part of the EHRC’s taskforce and is fully behind this campaign. We’d like to encourage all cleaning contractors to use their influence to promote fairness, dignity and respect for cleaning operatives in all corners of our industry”
“The campaign fits well with the BCC’s core ideals of dignity and fairness in work, and The Council very much wants to work with businesses, as it’s in their best interests to look after employees, as all the evidence suggests that if they do, they’ll have a happier and more productive workforce.”