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Tackling a crisis in cleaning

Delia Cannings is ‘Just Saying’

Let me start by wishing you all a happy if a little late New Year and let us hope we can move forward in 2022 with confidence that the dreaded virus is on its way to being fully contained.

We all need to regain our strength and move on positively, reassured that we have managed the changes required to ensure that we remain in good health. However, having said that let’s for a moment consider the health and wellbeing aspects which have impacted on many during the past two years of the pandemic, much of which is invisible and sadly can go undetected. Multiple studies revealed that the pandemic has sadly contributed to a change in behaviours and an increase in mental health problems, anxiety, depression, and self-harming. Figures fluctuated during pre and post lock down periods and specific groups were affected more or less than others. One example is older adults who were shielding and then reported higher levels of depression.

Living alone and loneliness was cited as a contributing factor to a deterioration in the quality of life. Statistics reveal an increase in alcohol consumption and substance abuse during the pandemic as well as an increase in bullying and violence within the home environment. Unemployed adults and those on low incomes have reported higher levels of psychological distress, anxiety, depression, and loneliness during the pandemic than adults with higher incomes. As well as these issues, we are now seeing severe staff shortages brought about initially through Brexit, the change in the immigration work status as well as more recently the pandemic factors, all compounded by the traditional winter ailments.

As absence, sickness, self-isolation and Covid cases increase and our workforces try to fill the staffing gaps to stay on top of Covid 19 and its variant strains, we are seeing ‘Burn Out’ based on sheer exhaustion and fatigue and feelings of deterioration in health, wellbeing, and quality of life are reported. We are heading for a crisis in cleaning, as the work force is becoming diminished.

Staff, some of many years standing, are now choosing to change occupations and move into areas of work which are deemed as having less risk. These people have often contributed to creating safe environments, the very same people that government did not recognise as key workers or even place value on their significant contribution to the pandemic recovery process. How will we ever cope and start to thrive again if we have no staff?

We need to roll out support for the endeavours of the British Cleaning Council

I urge you all to stand together to provide solid support for the endeavours of the British Cleaning Council. Pledge your commitment to the APPG and our fight for what is right, the BCC is currently focused on a number of topics including:

• Job recognition for cleaning, hygiene, and hospitality colleagues
• Key Worker Status
• Compulsory Living Wage
• Funded Training
• Health & Well Being
• Modern Slavery

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