Cleaning firms' message

15th of October 2010

Cleaning companies in Italy have voiced their discontent at public sector payment delays, writes Anna Garbagna.

In Italy cleaning companies have launched an appeal: in fact many of them, creditors of public administrations, can no longer bear the financial burden of the constant and growing delays to payment for their services. The consequences will be severe repercussions for their business and on the level of employment.

In many cases, in fact, all the company profit is absorbed by bank commissions and in some cases there is greater difficulty in accessing credit, or the risk of not being able to pay the salaries of workers.

It is for this reason that many companies in the cleaning sector are asking that, within a few days, the assessment of commercial debts of public sector organisations towards companies  is correctly defined (it is certainly closer to the €60-70 billion being estimated by companies rather than the €37 billion recognised by the Ministry of the Economy). They also ask for a solution to be approved in order to resolve the current situation in a way which is compatible with public accounts, via compulsory certification of the debt and its classification.

Presentation of proposals

These proposals, as well as the analysis of other economic issues, were presented in September in Rome by Taiis organisations (Inter-associative Table of Service Companies) and by the Trade Unions Cgil/Cisl/Uil, on the basis of an articulated and thorough analysis of the actual situation contained in the survey conducted by Astrid, a well known research  foundation into public administration whose chairman is Franco Bassanini.

Giorgio Macciotta, coordinator of the group which worked on the survey, presented the research study; the participation of the Euro MP Hon Francesco de Angelis, speaker at Industry Committee of the European Parliament was also important. De Angelis reported the positive developments recorded in the debate to reform the directive relating to payments delay.

Positive effects

The positive effects the solution to this problem will have on the economy are quite evident, thanks to companies regaining the ability to spend and make investments due to renewed liquid assets. The burden of the total of commercial debt is, in fact, being estimated at four points on the Gross Domestic Product.

Giuseppe Gherardelli, Secretary of FISE Anip declared that “the situation is particularly serious for cleaning sector companies. Because our companies are labour intensive, the lack of payments is even more serious for cleaning services companies”.

Furthermore there is another problem, Gherardelli added. “While the supply of material goods can be interrupted, in some cases cleaning companies cannot stop the services supply. For example in the case of  hospital canteens, they would be penalised with serious consequences. Therefore the cleaning company must continue to pay salaries and contributions without receiving payment. We must not forget that margins in this sector are really very narrow.”.

It must be concluded that, given seriousness of the current situation, if the country does not succeed by itself, Europe will force Italy to put its accounts right.


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