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New ways of working25th of April 2014
ECJ’s UK reporter examines how events around the country affect the cleaning sector.
You may think that cleaning is exempt from all the political, financial and personal pressures that surround us. This is far from being the case for our business and personal lives are affected as much as anyone else and in a very literal sense we are ‘all in this together’ even if we are not at all clear what it is we are involved in.
Let us look at some areas to see where we might be affected. First, floods. The words ‘Somerset levels’ and ‘Datchet’ have now ceased to be the mainstay of news bulletins. However they are still there even if not on the front page any more. Many genuine cleaning companies went round offering their services. Others also went round, many of which were not cleaning companies at all but those with an eye on the main chance. What efforts were made to co-ordinate all of this?
Perhaps there were some but they did not reach the ears of the media. Whether there were or not, there should have been - and another opportunity to promote our industry as positive and dynamic was lost.
Coming up on the rails, the enquiry by the Equality and Human Rights Commission into the cleaning industry. Our crystal ball department will tell you some of the findings of the Commission. There are some contractors using illegal immigrants; wages are too low; health and safety laws are being broken or ignored; there is not enough co-operation between different parties; and little effort to draw up standards. And there’s more but we will not bore you with the details. All of the above may be true but not significant and the industry is overall doing a good job.
What will happen? Nothing.
We are still part of Europe, whatever hopes Nigel Farage and his friends at UKIP may have. Europe is the raison d’être for this magazine and while the prime minister speaks of amendments to the UK’s EU membership - and certainly some are needed - these may take time if they happen at all.
So, irritating though it may be, we have a place in Europe and we need to use it to our advantage and cease moaning about it. We are not strong enough to go it alone yet so we should use the American saying: “If you’ve got lemons make lemonade.” With ISSA/Interclean fast approaching opportunity exists. Let the industry take it.
What else has been happening on the home front? Rain, rain and then more rain. There is no truth in the rumour that a 60-foot high wall is to be built round the UK (possible Scotland exclusion).
A significant story has been the sale of the Initial business to Interserve. This was a company always up there with the leaders of the pack.