The UK All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Cleaning recently released a report on the state of the cleaning industry in the country. The report, entitled “Raising Standards in Cleaning: Achieving a Living Wage for Cleaners,” highlights the challenges faced by workers in the cleaning industry and calls for greater protections and higher wages for these workers.
One of the key findings of the report is that many cleaners in the UK are paid low wages and have little job security. According to the report, the median hourly wage for cleaners in the UK is just £8.72, which is well below the national living wage of £8.91. Furthermore, many cleaners are not provided with regular contracts or benefits such as sick pay or paid holidays.
The report also notes that many cleaners work in poor conditions, with inadequate training and equipment. This can lead to injury and ill health, as well as a lower quality of cleaning services.
In light of these findings, the APPG on Cleaning is calling for a number of changes to be made to improve the lives of cleaners in the UK. These include:
- Increasing the national living wage for cleaners to £10.75 per hour
- Providing regular contracts and benefits to cleaners
- Improving the training and equipment provided to cleaners
- Establishing a Cleaning Standards Authority to set and enforce standards for the industry
The report also calls for greater transparency in the cleaning industry, with companies being required to disclose information about their cleaning contracts and the wages and conditions of their cleaners. This would allow consumers to make informed choices about the companies they do business with and help to drive up standards in the industry.
It is important to note that the cleaning industry is a significant contributor to the UK economy, employing around 1.5 million people and generating £24 billion in revenue annually. However, despite its importance, the industry has long been overlooked and undervalued. The APPG on Cleaning report is a step towards recognizing the vital role that cleaners play in maintaining the cleanliness of our buildings and public spaces and the importance of ensuring that they are treated with the respect and dignity they deserve.
The report also pointed out the disproportionate number of people from ethnic minorities and immigrants who work in the cleaning sector and how they are often paid lower wages, receive fewer benefits, and have less job security compared to their white British counterparts. This further highlights the urgent need for change in the industry.
It is also important to point out that the COVID-19 pandemic has further highlighted the essential role that cleaners play in maintaining public health and safety. The report states that cleaners have been on the front line during the pandemic, working tirelessly to keep buildings and public spaces clean and disinfected. They have put their own health and safety at risk to protect others, yet they have not been recognized or rewarded for their efforts.
In conclusion, the APPG on Cleaning report is a call to action for the UK government, companies, and consumers to recognize the vital role that cleaners play in our society and to take steps to improve their wages and working conditions. Cleaners deserve fair pay and benefits, safe working conditions, and the respect and dignity that all workers deserve. It is time for the cleaning industry to be given the attention and investment it deserves, to raise standards and ensure that cleaners are paid a living wage.