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Cleaning is Key


Paul Thrupp, Chairman of the British Cleaning Council (BCC), comments on the cleaning industry and our people finally getting the recognition that we deserve.


After over 40 years in the industry, it’s really sad that it’s taken a terrible pandemic like COVID-19 to make people in authority sit up and realise what an important role cleaning staff play in keeping the country clean,


hygienic and safe.


Before I joined BCC, I thought that everyone realised the part the industry plays in the economic success of the nation, however it’s become clear to me that the opposite was true with those heads of authority seemingly unconcerned with the industry and the people within it.


Well, haven’t times changed? Even the Prime Minister, other party leaders and Government heads all realising the importance of effective cleaning and hygiene regimes, and using the press to recognise the people who are working tirelessly and unselfishly to maintain clean environments.


However, we at the BCC along with all our members have had to work hard to get the industry and cleaning workforce recognised as key or critical workers. We’ve lobbied key Government departments including the Cabinet Office and to date we have only had limited success. I cannot believe what it has taken to raise the profile at a time when cleaning and hygiene should have been top of everybody’s agenda.


At first cleaning staff were not even mentioned within the support personnel identified in key critical sectors. Then when this was corrected and while cleaning staff were identified as key staff in those critical sectors, they were still not confirmed as key or critical for every sector, which clearly they are.


To date we have lobbied extensively, particularly to the Government and through the press and media and together the whole cleaning industry and beyond, we have raised the profile of this fantastic industry with many realising the role we will play in advancing the UK’s recovery.


No longer can our cleaning staff be seen as the ‘invisible workforce’. The industry must be embraced, and we must ensure that each and every individual within it gets the reward and recognition they deserve.


26 | REGULAR


We must have support for industry-wide apprenticeship schemes to recognise the professional nature of the industry. We must have a voice in Government and a voice at every industry leader’s forum.


Going forward, the cleaning industry will have many challenges especially as businesses try to reduce costs to overcome the recession that we will be in. However, I hope and trust that we will not see those cuts being applied to cleaning with reduced schedules, specification and ultimately staff. In fact, I believe we will see the opposite as businesses invest more in cleaning and hygiene, to raise levels of hygiene across the UK and to protect their staff, their customers, and their business.


A clean and hygienic environment increases the wellbeing of people, reduces sickness and absence from work, improves customer satisfaction and ultimately helps growth and profits. More importantly now it will ensure that we are more protected and better placed from a future pandemic of this sort and will save lives.


And of course, we hope and pray that we see the back of this awful pandemic soon, and trust that the good practices we have now learned - particularly that of good hand hygiene - is maintained. We train all our people on the importance of effective and frequent handwashing and hope the nation understands why.


The cleaning industry, and more importantly cleaning staff all over the world, are vital in ensuring the world stays safe. I ask you all to thank your cleaning staff and ensure that their profile and that of the industry is raised and recognised throughout the UK.


www.britishcleaningcouncil.org twitter.com/TomoCleaning


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