UK well placed to weather recession

28th of November 2011
UK well placed to weather recession

ECJ's UK correspondent asks how the industry can weather the recession.

Looks like the recession is really here. Reality in the form of lost jobs and falling incomes. The cleaning industry is better placed than most to weather the storm. We are labour intensive on the contract side so maintaining workforce levels should not be a problem provided the service given is beyond what the client might expect or hope for. Hard price bargaining will be the norm.

Greater efficiency does reduce staff numbers but this is an incentive to ensure that those who drive the business forward are properly trained and that the client understands the importance of having professionals doing the cleaning. Low-price quotations do not in the long run benefit either the company offering the quote or the one receiving the service.

No-one should doubt there is much to be done to take us back to a situation where people did 'a good day’s work for a good days pay'. Some companies are achieving this but they are the exception not the rule and it is not the worker who is responsible for this but the management. It is their task to build companies which have the highest standards and a real pride in the results achieved at every level in the company. Happily, here too there are some good examples to be found.

Moving into winter we are accompanied by sirens from the media and political commentators offering views of a failing country for which they are partly responsible and a vision of apocalypse to come.

The other game which is not a media exercise and should concern us all is the Shame Game. There are many people who should be ashamed of their behaviour in a time when all should be pulling together and in which the cleaning industry, unsung and unheralded, is a shining example with one or two exceptions.

Let us give you some examples: the Royal College of Nursing concentrating on salaries and status and pressing for nursing education which produces so-called nurses who are 'too posh to wash'.
Trades union leaders cloaked in their handsome salaries and pensions spread alarm, threaten pointless strike action, cost millions in wasted time and have never produced a single positive idea to help the economy.

Meanwhile day in and day out at 5am the cleaning begins. A pity that many of the workers are not British and some may well be illegal. To the 'shamed' list we can add those contractors who use illegal foreign workers. The Cleaning and Support Services Association (CSSA) might well examine how many immigrants are employed and the reasons they are engaged. We suspect the answer might cause British workers to join the 'shamed' list.

We can win but it requires many more to adopt a 'can do' attitude than at present.


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