Boris Johnson paid tribute in Parliament yesterday to the ‘extraordinary’ role of cleaners during the Coronavirus crisis.
The British Cleaning Council (BCC) has welcomed the supportive comments and is repeating its call for cleaners to be recognised as essential ‘critical or key workers’ due to the vital need to maintain high hygiene standards during the pandemic.
The Prime Minister was taking part in Prime Minister’s Questions when Jeremy Corbyn praised the ‘unsung heroes’ of the public sector who ‘keep us safe’ during the outbreak. He went on to add: “I’d like to pay special mention to one group that are hugely ignored, forgotten and decried as unskilled workers – cleaners. All around the country and in this building, (they) are doing their best to keep our places hygienic and safe."
The Prime Minister said: “I agree with him very much about what he said about cleaners, they do an extraordinary job and they deserve all the protection and support we can give them in this difficult time.”
Paul Thrupp, chairman of the BCC, said: “Everyone in the cleaning sector will be thrilled to see that our vital work is being recognised by the country’s leading figures. All too often, the role of cleaners is invisible and forgotten yet our work couldn’t be more important, particularly now in the fight against Coronavirus, and this reinforces our call for cleaners to be given essential ‘critical or key worker’ status due to the need for high hygiene standards during the pandemic.”
In an open letter issued last week, Paul Thrupp wrote: “As we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic together as an industry, it is my duty to keep you informed about how the British Cleaning Council is campaigning to ensure that people within our industry are viewed as essential ‘critical or key workers’ who are needed more than ever to ensure we not only maintain but elevate hygiene standards in the UK in order to come out of this crisis quicker. The BCC and its members have the staff, products, equipment and machinery to reduce the risk to human health by providing and maintaining clean, sanitised and safe premises and environments. Our regular day to day cleaning staff and our specialist and periodical industrial and window cleaning staff all have a major part in improving the environmental hygiene of the UK. Even in lockdown, premises and particularly education, retail, healthcare establishments and care homes will require more frequent sanitisation regimes at what may well be a premium time to do so. Our cleaning staff throughout the UK have the expertise, training and knowledge to carry out sanitisation, hygiene, clinical or decontamination cleans so it is essential that the workforce are kept available by being identified as ‘critical or key workers’ by the Prime Minister and the British Government.
He continued: “Additionally, our cleaning product suppliers need to remain at work to provide the consumables and products to clean with, from wipes and paper products, to disinfectants, sanitisers and cleaning products in general. And our machinery and equipment providers need to produce and supply specialist cleaning equipment that our staff can use. The cleaning industry represents five per cent of the UK workforce and if we do not identify our people as ‘critical or key workers’ then hygiene in the UK will drop with the effect that the virus may flourish. Support the BCC and all its members and keep our people at work maintaining the hygiene of the country and providing vital sanitisation services. On behalf of the BCC, may I thank you for your support in these difficult times as with your support our staff can carry on with their invaluable work in order that together we can defeat this awful disease.”