Following discussions with the Government about the official, national guidance it issued this month to businesses about how to ensure workplaces are safe from Coronavirus, the British Cleaning Council (BCC) has written to the Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Labour Markets to ask for a private meeting to discuss a number of issues that are key to the cleaning sector and the recovery from Coronavirus.
The BCC was among a number of representatives of the UK’s key industrial sectors which were invited to take part in a conference call and give their views on the guidance and how the Government could continue to support the business community with the impact of Coronavirus.
The BCC is now calling for a one-to-one meeting with Paul Scully to highlight the further steps it believes are needed to support the cleaning sector and the economy as a whole.
The BCC is recommending:
- Expanding the national Coronavirus testing programme, so all cleaning operatives outside of the healthcare sector who are working and are therefore key workers can benefit without the need to show symptoms. Currently, some key worker cleaning operatives are only entitled to testing if they have symptoms while colleagues in the same key industry do not need to have symptoms before requesting a test.
- Clarifying the requirements around facemasks and face coverings in order to assist staff and clients.
- Government-backed training to be developed to raise the skills levels of cleaning operatives to assist in removing any definition of ‘low skilled migrant workers’ and, in doing so, allow trained resource to continue to work in the sector should the Immigration Bill comes into force next year as planned. In many areas, the cleaning sector currently employs large numbers of migrant workers and the aim is to ensure that all staff regardless of origin are fully and comprehensively trained to deal with hygiene matters up to and including a pandemic. In this way, the country can continue to rely and be thankful that cleaning and hygiene operatives remain as members of the country’s front line hygiene defence.
- An industry-agreed hygiene standard for businesses reopening after the lockdown, to ensure a British standard requirement which is clear for all, resulting in both safety and increased confidence for workers and customers.
BCC Deputy Chair Jim Melvin said: “It is now universally acknowledged that we in the cleaning sector are playing a significant and crucial role in assisting and tackling the Coronavirus pandemic and our work will continue to be essential during the recovery if the UK is to return to a semblance of normality.
“We want to make sure that we do all that we can to assist the Government with expert advice on the steps that need to be taken to help support the UK’s business community as a whole and, as the voice of the industry, ensure the Government is aware of the support that our sector needs.
“The fact that the BCC has been consulted by Government about how to keep businesses safe from Coronavirus is a welcome and encouraging sign that the importance of the cleaning sector is being recognised at the highest level. A meeting with Minister Paul Scully on a one-to-one basis is the best way to take that forward.”