UNISON welcomes dignity and respect campaign for cleaners

EHRC campaign is ‘a big step in the right direction for often invisible workforce’ says union general secretary

UNISON has welcomed a new campaign to promote good working conditions for cleaners, launched by the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

It is a “a big step in the right direction” for an all-too-often invisible workforce, says general secretary Dave Prentis.

UNISON organises many cleaning staff across all sectors and Mr Prentis commented: “Our cleaners do a fantastic and vital job and they deserve recognition and respect.

“Sadly, Low pay, heavy work and poor treatment has all too often been the shameful hallmarks of this sector and this must end.”

The campaign includes

  • a Know Your Rights briefing pack and postcards aimed at workers in the sector,
  • a set of “responsible procurement principles” for those who buy-in contracted cleaning services,
  • a ‘dignity and respect’ poster highlighting the value of cleaners.

The campaign, See the True Value,  has been put together by an industry taskforce of employers and union – including UNISON – under the auspices of the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

The commission’s recent report on the sector in England, Scotland and Wales – The Invisible Workforce: employment practices in the cleaning sector [PDF] – found that many cleaners are female migrants, who spoke of being “invisible” and of being treated badly compared to other employees.

Many said they did not understand their rights.

“UNISON was delighted to be part of this important work,” said Mr Prentis, welcoming it as “a big step in the right direction for ensuring better working conditions for what is often an invisible workforce.”