Make a real contribution

26th of October 2011
Make a real contribution

ECJ's UK correspondent asks how the cleaning sector could be affected by recent social unrest.

Cheer up.” They said, “Things could be worse.” So I cheered up and they got worse.

That is how it may seem just now what with slow growth,  riots (which since the repeal of the Riot Act you cannot have; financial carnage and death in Afghanistan, Syria and assorted countries.

The cleaning industry had an unwanted bonus in the clearing up operations helped by politicians with acolytes with brooms but that does not detract from the serious position in which we find ourselves. Our major  broadcast channel once viewed as the voice of calm now follows an anti-government, anti almost anything stance in presenting the news as being almost entirely negative. “One third of pupils leave primary school unable to read of write properly.” True but two thirds can and do.

What has this to do with the cleaning industry you may ask? Quite a lot since we are an industry operating 24 hours a day with the galaxy of industry itself. We have a duty to try to take us back or indeed forward into the days when standards of performance, of work or belief and of compassion applied in our daily lives.

For far too many years - decades even - we have been cosseted and spoon-fed by the State at enormous cost. This constant diet has destroyed our ability to think and act responsibly. We are in receipt of much bad law to which we acquiesce without effective complaint while politicians go about the business of their careers. The cleaning industry, ignored and treated with ill concealed contempt, is an example of people getting on with the job, though even here the madness of
our employment and equality laws is a restriction on employment, employee development and earnings.

Creating jobs

What can the reviled and ignored cleaning industry do? It can lead by taking the disaffected young men and women of the streets and into work. It can create more apprenticeships. It can pay decent wages and here the client can help instead of taking the lowest quote and adding more work without increasing the price. It can take an interest in its workforce outside working hours.

It can stop using illegal immigrant labour or indeed any immigrant labour at all while British workers are unemployed. They don't work hard enough? Unskilled? These things can be changed and the cleaning industry is ideally placed to lead. Proper training is essential and there will be a cost which the industry will have to bear but the rewards are considerable.

The industry is capable of doing all of these things and making a real contribution but it is up to the industry to see that these efforts are given the credit they deserve.


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