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French cleaning industry has a political voice27th of April 2012
The French cleaning industry has been expressing its opinions to the political parties, writes reporter Christian Bouzols.
With the approaching presidential elections, the French cleaning sector has decided to make its position known on a number of current issues and to bring them to the attention of the various candidates. Among the issues put forward are those of job creation, training, public procurement, health and safety at work and sustainable development.
In the same way as it did during the 2007 campaign, the Fédération des Entreprises de Propreté (FEP) and its regional chambers have published a 'Blue Book' for the candidates.
The document’s main aim is to make the cleaning sector better known among future political leaders and to suggest some quite powerful measures concerning not only the cleaning sector, but other labour intensive sectors as well. This publication comes in a rather difficult period for the industry.
For the first time since 1995, three vital health indicators - turnover, number of companies and workforce - have shown a slowing down. Whereas cleaning company turnovers used to rise by 10 per cent every two years, at the last count they had risen by less than one per cent. There has also been a worrying decline in the number of companies in the sector, as two per cent of them closed down in 2009. The number of employees also declined for the first time (by 1.1 per cent).
It is against this background that FEP intends to promote a job creation policy based on the development of new services. The Blue Book was recently launched by Bernard Bodilis, president of FEP for south-eastern France. Why?
“Because company managers in the cleaning sector, which is highly labour intensive, increasingly feel decisions taken by politicians are not in line with the realities of their companies.
"What should be done to improve the working hours of the workforce, how can we improve the employment capacity of companies, how can we promote integration, how can sustainable development be turned into a driver for growth, how can public procurement activities become good examples of corporate social responsibility?” he asked.
Who other than the companies themselves are better placed to design relevant solutions to the employment problems of its own sector?
“Yet every day political, social and economic decisions are taken without a proper knowledge of realities on the ground,” explained the company boss.
With this in mind the cleaning industry, a labour intensive sector with 428,400 employees in 2011, has decided to make itself heard, knowing its enterprises create employment and wealth in France without the risk of relocating jobs abroad. Added Bodilis: “In this Blue Book, we are a trade entirely committed to making 22 concrete and reality based proposals. Our wish is to be players within a dynamic society.”
The measures formulated in the Blue Book include solutions to increase part time cleaner working hours; support sustainable employment; give companies a stable legal environment offering them the visibility they deserve; integrating people who are far removed from employment; encouraging corporate social responsibility in public procurement; and means for turning sustainable development into a growth objective.
The FEP's Blue Book can be downloaded at: www.proprete-services-associes.com