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The press has certainly had all guns blazing this week for Total Clean’s head of operations Graham Petersen, hasn’t it? By golly – those publications couldn’t have worked any harder to convince readers he’s a cold, uncaring manager, effectively bullying a struggling, single-mum by sacking her for eating a leftover sandwich when she cleaned up after a meeting at a client’s premises - which could well have been destined for the bin anyway! It all came across a bit ‘David and Goliath’. There were pictures of him floating, suntanned, in an overseas pool, as if he was filthy rich and didn’t have a care in the world, along with pictures of sacked cleaner Gabriela’s colleagues, rallying for her reinstatement, and Gabriela too – understandably looking sorry for herself. Under the circumstances, it would be so easy to be swayed into thinking that sacking Gabriela was way over the top and that the issue should perhaps have been dealt with in a different way – perhaps by a disciplinary. I was feeling that way myself for a while and wondered whether there might be something more behind it, so did a bit of digging.
My conclusions? Established in 1988, TotalClean is a family-run business with many, very long-standing clients posting great reviews. It’s also an Corporate Membership of the British Institute of Cleaning Science but is not, according to the Cleaning & Support Services Association's website, a CSSA member. Gabriela was earning decent money, bearing in mind that the National Living Wage for over 23s set by the Government is £10.42/hr across the UK and she was on, according to the reports, £13/hr which is just 15p below the Living Wage foundation’s £13.15/hr London rating and way above £12/hour national rating.
I understand that in Gabriela’s case she’d previously been offered leftover food and felt that a precedent had been set. I get that. I also get that by taking the sandwich, she caused a loss of faith in her integrity and had breached her contract.
It’s a toughie, isn’t it? I daresay that every day, a cleaning contractor somewhere in the world is struggling with a decision on whether to sack, discipline or simply reprimand an employee who’s taken something they’d considered to be rubbish, rather than leave it where it was or bin it. Where do you draw the line though? Be lenient and worry that the practice will spread amongst other staff, with items taken becoming more valuable and potentially leading to the loss of the contract, or be tough, use any transgressions to set an example and ensure that all employees know not to remove anything at all from the premises unless given express permission to do so.
Where would you draw the line? Have you, as an employer, faced such a decision and how did you handle things? Please do let me know.
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This Week's News
Genesis Biosciences has joined the COMBAT AMR consortium which aims to understand and control the emergence and dissemination of antimicrobial resistance in complex drain biofilms. Under the leadership of Professor Jean-Yves Maillard of Cardiff University, the company will collaborate with the university and other European educational institutions on the research project.
Antimicrobial resistance is a significant global challenge and is listed on the UK government's National Risk Register as a chronic risk that poses continuous challenges. The Government's vision is for antimicrobial resistance to be contained and controlled by 2040 and it is publishing five-year national action plans to achieve this.
WRAP, the Waste & Resources Action Programme, is hosting an online webinar aimed at guiding local authorities on how to utilise the Kerbside Costing tool which provides Local Authorities with indicative costs and performance of different kerbside collection schemes. It is found on the Local Authority portal.
The tool enables users to look at and compare different kerbside collection schemes and is considered to offer an easy first step for an authority considering alternative collection options.
Calling for the next Mayor of London to appoint a dedicated freight commissioner, Logistics UK's senior policy advisor, Chris Yarsley, says: "The capital's 35,000 logistics businesses deliver everything London needs, and the industry provides jobs for more than a quarter of a million Londoners - almost 5% of the city's employees.
Yet the needs of the sector are often relegated to an afterthought once decisions on construction, manufacturing, infrastructure and even waste management have been made.
Eco cleaning chemical brand, Delphis Eco, has forged a new partnership with Forest Green Rovers Football Club – considered by both FIFA, the international governing body of association football, and the United Nations - as one of the greenest football team in the world.
The collaboration is based on shared values and a mutual passion to put sustainability at the core of every decision made. Whether reducing emissions or measuring and lowering carbon footprint, it's all about doing business the right way and doing 'good'.
Winners were selected across six categories with each awarded a £100 voucher in recognition of their exceptional work. Mitie received over 180 award nominations from across the business.
By automating manual processes, the Descartes solution has allowed PPS' transport manager to save approximately 25 hours/week planning deliveries and routes. The solution also helped PPS gain 17 hours of productive time daily across its team of 17 drivers, or 1 hour/day/driver, which the company is devoting to more deliveries per day, staff training and other strategic imperatives.
ISS A/S, a leading workplace experience and facility management company, today announces that it has renewed an existing full-service partnership agreement with Nordea in the Nordic countries. The contract runs for five years.
ISS has worked with Nordea since 1976. From 2012 onward, the company has delivered integrated facility management services.
Colliers, a global leader in corporate real estate services, has appointed GMS Group as its partner across Gloucestershire in a second contract win for the cleaning & security specialist. GMS – appointed by Colliers as its partner for key sites in the West Midlands in 2023, has partnered with commercial cleaning specialist Fidelis, part of React Group, to deliver the cleaning services.
GMS is supporting Colliers, the managing agent for Gloucester City Council, with cleaning and security services across Eastgate Shopping Centre, King's Walk Shopping Centre, St Oswald's Retail Park and King's Square, all in Gloucester.
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Recent UK News
Experts from The British Institute of Cleaning Science and the Cleaning & Support Services Association have joined forces to work in partnership on an innovative pioneering project - The Future of Cleaning initiative.
An industry first, this groundbreaking collaboration between the two organisations has been launched in partnership with the University of Surrey and is aimed at exploring innovation in the cleaning industry.
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