Daytime cleaning project launches

16th of March 2023 Article by Lotte Printz
Daytime cleaning project launches

Initiators of a new project in Norway hope to attract more people to the sector, reports Lotte Printz.

“It’s hard for this sector to attract people and we believe that part of it is down to the fact it is hard to combine a job as a cleaner with family life; bringing children to school and pastime activities and picking them up afterwards. And joining clubs and organisations yourself,” Trine Wiig, union secretary of the Norwegian Union of General Workers (including 6,000 cleaning operatives), explains in a press release.

As a result, the Norwegian Union of General Workers and its counterparts in NHO (the central organisation for service and trade) are going to launch a new project funded by Hf-fondet (a fund jointly administered by NHO and LO, the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions). One of the main objectives of the 4.6 million Kroner project is to make cleaning a daytime job.

Raise the status

Cleaning during the day rather than late in the afternoon, at night or even in the early hours of the day also sends a signal that this an important job, and thus helps raise the status of the trade, the initiators argue.

The cleaning profession and the individual cleaner enjoyed a higher status during the pandemic, but now it seems to be on its way past this peak, the project is welcomed by cleaning operatives themselves. In fact, they think it’s about time the working hours of cleaners are back on the agenda.

“Daytime jobs were something we already discussed at the beginning of the millennium. In fact, we managed to land it even then, but this routine has gradually been rolled back by cleaning companies and customers alike since then”, lead union steward for the cleaners at ISS, Irene Skuggen Olsen points out.

If the attempt to change working hours of cleaning operatives pulls through, it might prove to yield other good results. As ECJ wrote back in October 2015, cleaners working nights in Norway are especially prone to vitamin D deficiency due to little sun exposure, particularly during autumn and winter when the hours of daylight are few in this northern part of Europe.

Changing the working hours is only one of the project highlights though. Information sharing between the parties, organising more union stewards who are key if changes are to be made successfully within the companies as well as strengthening cooperation in general are other essential elements.

As an example, Trine Wiig hopes the project will breathe life to monthly meetings between union stewards and company management and generally inspire a more open dialogue when companies are planning new initiatives.

The project has been in the pipeline for quite some time, but was stalled due to the pandemic. So, Wiig is pleased it can finally go ahead.

A conference on March 15 kicked off the project that is planned to run for two-and-a-half years, thus ending on September 15 2025.

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