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Industry taskforce to help improve working conditions of cleaners

A campaign to promote good working conditions in the cleaning industry has been launched by an industry-led taskforce set up by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).

The taskforce, chaired by EHRC Deputy Chair Caroline Waters, includes leading businesses, trade associations and trade unions. The Commission convened the taskforce following publication of its report, The Invisible Workforce: employment practices in the cleaning sector

The report found many examples of good practice such as policies to promote equality but also found that some employers did not provide contracts to staff. Further, some failed to pay their employees in full, or to pay sickness or holiday leave entitlements. Many cleaning operatives are female migrants, who spoke of being ‘invisible’, of being treated badly compared to other employees, and said they did not understand their rights.

To solve these problems the taskforce developed principles for responsible procurement. The taskforce also developed a poster to highlight the value of cleaning operatives, and Your Rights at Work postcards for cleaning firms to send to their employees explaining their employment rights.

Caroline Waters, EHRC and taskforce Chair commented: “The Commission’s role is to promote and enforce the laws that protect our rights to fairness, dignity and respect. It has been a great privilege to have worked over the past year or so with so many people who are committed to improving the working conditions of cleaning operatives.

“We very much hope the tools we have now produced will help to bring real and lasting change for commercial cleaning operatives.”

All of the materials are available to download on the Commission’s website here.

EHRC | UK & NI Ireland | Working Conditions


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