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ACCORDING TO CHSA The Cleaning & Hygiene Suppliers Association’s (CHSA) is warning buyers that no Manufacturing Standards Accreditation Scheme marque on the box means no guarantee of what’s inside the box.

“Buyers who make assumptions about the quality of the plastic sacks they purchase are taking a big risk,” explained Mike Stubbs, Chairman of the Manufacturing Standards Accreditation Scheme for Plastic Refuse Sacks.

“Unbranded ‘brown boxes’ come with no guarantee, whoever is the


BEGINS The Home Office has launched a campaign to drive compliance and root out illegal working in the cleaning industry, Immigration Minister James Brokenshire has announced.

During the week-long campaign, launched on Sunday 6 December, immigration enforcement officers carried out operations targeting agencies and service providers in the sector who employ and exploit illegal migrant workers.

In November, the Home Office hosted a meeting with leaders from the cleaning industry to discuss plans to end illegal working in the sector.

Mr Brokenshire said: “Illegal working undermines legitimate employers, harms the reputation of the industry, drives down wages and denies employment to hard-working UK citizens and people who are working in the UK legally.

“Bringing together key employers and influencers in the cleaning industry has shown us the very clear determination of those working in the sector to maintain its integrity.

8 | Tomorrow’s Cleaning January 2016

manufacturer. The order may be for medium or heavy duty plastic sacks but with ‘brown box’ products these ‘fit for purpose’ specifications are meaningless; they have no common definition.

“In contrast, plastic sacks with the Accreditation Scheme Marque are manufactured to a clear, defined specification and are tested against that specification to make sure they are ‘fit for purpose’.”

The CHSA’s Independent Inspector audits the products within the Scheme using the British Standards Institute’s Drop Test, during which the sack is filled to a pre-defined weight then dropped a specific height and assessed. Ten sacks are tested in

“It has also given us an opportunity to underline the vital role employers have to play, by ensuring they carry out the straightforward ‘Right to Work’ checks on potential employees which will prevent illegal working in the UK.”

The roundtable event was an opportunity for those in the cleaning industry to share their experiences of illegal working in the sector, find out more about measures being introduced by the Government to tackle the problem, and discuss what more can be done.

Those attending included representatives from cleaning companies and industry bodies including Mitie, the British Cleaning Council and the Cleaning and Support Services Association.

British Cleaning Council Chairman Simon Hollingbery said: “We fully support this campaign, and have been working with the Home Office Immigration Enforcement team for a number of months. Rogue cleaning contractors have no place in the cleaning industry. They take on illegal migrants purposely to undercut genuine, law abiding firms.

“By doing so they break all health and safety rules, and work the illegal migrants for long hours on pitifully low pay. The vast majority of cleaning contractors will welcome this latest

this way and only if the batch passes is it marked suitable for the ‘duty’ category in question.

The labels are also reviewed to ensure there is full traceability to manufacturer and batch.

The Manufacturing Standards Accreditation Scheme for Plastic Refuse Sacks guarantees three things: consistency of supply, meaning customers receive what they order; accurate labelling, so that customers know what they are paying for; and fully audited manufacturers.

move and we have invited members of the immigration team to speak at the Manchester Cleaning Show in April.”

Cleaning staff have access to the premises of many different types of organisations, so carrying out ‘Right to Work’ checks is integral to maintaining the highest levels of security. If an employee has used forged documents to gain employment, their identity, any criminal history and qualifications cannot be verified.

The nature of cleaning work means that the industry can be particularly exposed to the risk of illegal employment, due in part to its reliance on transient labour. Evidence based on operational intelligence has shown this has led to the employment of workers with no right to be in the UK.

Failure to comply with the rules has serious financial repercussions for employers – in the last Parliament the Government doubled the maximum civil penalty for non- compliant employers to £20,000 for each illegal worker employed.

In addition, new measures in the Immigration Bill will make it easier to prosecute employers using illegal labour and to close down the businesses where they repeatedly flout the law.

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