London’s first ethical cleaning company, which launched this week, is aiming to provide a better deal for workers in a sector known for low pay and exploitative working conditions.
Clean for Good pays its workers the London living wage of £9.75 per hour and employs them on contracts that provide guaranteed hours, paid leave and other rights.
“We have no zero-hours contracts although we offer flexible hours for employees who want to combine work with study or family responsibilities,” Clean for Good business manager Catherine Pearson told the Guardian.
“We offer staff paid holiday and sick leave, an opt-in pension and health and safety training. We use ethical products, keep our carbon footprint to a minimum and offer our clients transparency.”
Pearson explained, “Often contracts (in the cleaning sector) are sub-contracted, sometimes more than once, and it’s unclear to clients how much the cleaner actually gets for their work.”
The church-backed firm currently has 10 staff and eight clients but plans to expand.
Pearson said the firm is aiming to turnover at least £600,000 over the next two years. Staff may also receive bonuses, she added.
Clean for Good was established by the central London church St Andrews-by-the-Wardrobe as a way to help low-paid workers in the area.
“Clean for Good stands out from the crowd as a company that pays its staff the proper London living wage as well as one that doesn’t shirk its obligations to provide staff with guaranteed hours and full working rights,” said Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner.
“The fact that this is unusual reflects the dire state of many people’s working conditions in the UK. The standards Clean for Good adheres to should be the norm and not the exception.”
Turner lamented the fact that “the vast majority of employers using insecure work to boost their profits will not do this by themselves”.
He said, “For widespread change we need sectoral collective bargaining and strong trade unions so that workers in precarious occupations have a voice.
“The Tories will oppose us every step of the way as we try to achieve this, which is why we need a Labour government that actually cares about ordinary people.”