Last week we “Clapped for Carers” for the last time. It was the tenth week that the country had come together to show our support for NHS workers, care staff, and also for keyworkers – including cleaners.
The question is, now that the clapping has ended, what happens next?
In those first weeks of Lockdown, as the reality of the Corona Virus pandemic sunk in, it became clear just how vital a role is played by delivery drivers, supermarket staff, and cleaners, in keeping the country going.
It’s noticeable that these are also some of the lowest paid workers, at greatest risk of exploitation.
So, now that the clapping has stopped, we need to make sure we continue to value our keyworkers with lasting and meaningful change.
Change is needed
For Just Helpers, this means all of our Helpers continue to receive the London Living Wage. We’ve recently changed our contracts so that all of our Helpers also receive four weeks’ holiday pay courtesy of their clients.
We will also be campaigning for changes in taxation and employment laws. The low margins in the cleaning industry make It difficult for agencies to pay their cleaners fairly, and still be affordable to hardworking people on middle incomes. We want the government to encourage businesses that do the right thing through the tax system, so that they can be both profitable, secure and ethical.
And we’re not in this alone. We work closely with other ethical businesses such as Clean For Good – our main ‘running mate’ in the cleaning industry. Clean For Good were founded by the Parish of St Andrew by the Wardrobe in the City of London. The church discovered the high number of low paid cleaners working in their parish, and responded by forming their own cleaning company. Clean for Good pay the London Living Wage and provide decent working conditions, as well as offering training and development for their cleaners.
Clean For Good offer commercial cleaning for businesses looking for 10 or more hours’ cleaning per week, and so perfectly complement Just Helpers as we offer cleaning for smaller commercial, and domestic clients.
So, as life slowly gets back to normal after Lockdown, our hope is that the appreciation of key workers goes beyond clapping and rainbows, and that more cleaners get the respect, decent working conditions and pay that they deserve.
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