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It seems like a lifetime ago now, but in preparing one of these Leaders late last February, I wrote about how Coronavirus had caused the job of cleaning to take on so much more importance. I referred to the many buildings that had been forced to close for deep cleaning, saying: "I can imagine the people involved must be exhausted by now but it's going to get worse before it gets better. Perhaps there will be greater respect for the cleaning workforce in future, from the general public who may now be aware that a cleaner's job is highly important and that those involved need to be properly trained."
Over the year I've seen the attitude of the general public change. In local social media groups, (a Godsend for those who've been truly isolated and may have needed help with a home emergency, or simply wanted to know whether there were queues at the supermarket or had toilet rolls in stock) whenever people mentioned the great work nursing teams were doing, invariably someone wrote: "And the cleaners!" - and it was good that for a change, it hadn't been me who'd done so.
The inauguration this week of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for the cleaning sector has really shown how far we've come. I know various British Cleaning Council member organisations have been lobbying Parliament for recognition for some years and that the former MP for Stirling, Stephen Kerr, has been a supporter for some time, but never had there been as big a splash as there has now. You can't scoff at 53 MPs and three Members of the House of Lords, spanning six political parties, can you?
Hearty congratulations then to the BCC, which in sponsoring the APPG is doing all it can to elevate the status of our cleaners to a worthier position: that of key/essential workers. In my mind, they've always held that position, but the majority of the population needed convincing & I believe that this has now happened.
Like the BCC, I believe - and have done since I joined it - that an industry as important as ours, which boasts an enormous workforce and contributes £billions to the economy, needs to have this kind of representation in Parliament. Thanks to the APPG, Government policymakers will in future be fully aware of the vital work our industry does and will have to ensure that our views are taken into account over anything that affects us. We finally have a voice.
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4th February 2021