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Living wages for London cleaners

Published 18th July, 2011 by Neil Nixon

Living wages for London cleaners

Sandy Aird, managing director of London-based Enhance Office Cleaning Ltd, has hit out at the many employers who do not pay the city’s cleaning staff a fair day’s wage. Enhance has always paid staff the London Living Wage of £7.85 (Boris Johnson has now raised the London Living Wage to £8.30 per hour), not the minimum wage of £5.93. 95% of clients agreed the rate having identified their long-term benefits.

Aird said: ”How do contractors or employers of in-house cleaning staff think they can attract quality, reliable, conscientious staff for insulting rates? London will soon welcome the world to the Olympics. Our great city will be a showpiece and PR tool for the UK and offices, stadia, airports, transport, public places and the streets must be spotless. This is the call to action and great opportunity for our profession.”

Aird believes it madness to pay cleaning staff an insulting national minimum rate to work in central London when a high proportion of wages is spent on travel from outer zones. A £17.80 weekly bus pass leaves a cleaner working a five-day two-hour shift with £8.30 per day.

Aird continued:?“Without fair wages the cleaning business will continue its 100%+ staff churn, which is bad for clients and hopeless for contractors who then spend extra time and money recruiting and training. Enhance has proved that paying fair wages has attracted good staff with a service-oriented attitude. They view cleaning as a longer- term opportunity with promotion prospects - that’s good for client, employee and contractor.”

Andrew Large, chief executive of the Cleaning and Support Services Association, is wholly supportive of Enhance’s attitude to the Living Wage. He said: “I am delighted that Sandy has focused on the fact that people are the future of a service business. London is one of the most expensive cities in the world and I hope that this initiative to pay all staff the London Living Wage will be a shining example to others.”

Sandy Aird continues his ‘Fair wages for the 110,000 London cleaners’ campaign in the hope that others will follow and result in better work from a stable workforce and that the cut price operators paying slave labour rates will be forced out.

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