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Cleaning conference cements commitment to change the sector
At its recent Cleanliness Sector Progress Conference, FEP, (the Federation of Companies for Cleanliness, Hygiene and Associated Services) which represents cleaning companies, social partners and representatives of public and private customers, signed a major commitment to "change a sector that is too often invisible but essential to all."
The commitment is to alert the state, communities and buyers to the conditions under which cleaning and associated trades are exercised, and call for change.
The Conference, held in Paris, represented more than 550,000 employees in 14,000 companies.
Organised by the FEP under the high sponsorship of the government and in the presence of Mrs Elisabeth Borne, Minister of Labour, Employment & Integration, the event facilitated the signing of significant commitments to increase the recognition of its service professions and improve the working conditions of employees in the sector.
"Indeed, these professions, essential to ensure the hygienic conditions essential to any professional activity during the health crisis as "professions of economic and social continuity", are however not considered in terms of their social utility," says the FEP.
"The purchase of cleanliness and hygiene services is often judged solely through the prism of cost, without taking into account specific sector specificities, particularly social ones.
"Thus, the working conditions of employees in the sector (staggered and split hours, part-time, isolated work, etc.) are largely induced by the purchasing practices of customers, both public and private, which impose an atypical work organisation.
"This 'low cost culture' of purchasing cleanliness has a direct impact on working conditions - and, more broadly, on the living conditions of employees. All this makes it difficult for companies to invest, and affects their capacity for recruitment and technical and social innovation.
- Aware of this state of affairs, the stakeholders wished to respond to the call to commit to specific and ambitious social and economic improvement leading to the signing of two founding texts:
- A joint declaration signed by the the organisations representing majority employees. This aims to alert the public authorities, private and public customers to the real conditions of performance of the services, and asks to reduce staggered and / or split working hours in the specifications, to reduce the continuous pressure on prices and limit excessive massification and restrict the constant and accelerated renewal of markets. The declaration aims to facilitate access to housing for employees by supplementing the services" existing offers. This signature once again underscores the maturity and responsibility of the branch's social dialogue, which for several years has enabled progressive but significant social progress to be made in a difficult context.
- A Charter of commitments "for efficient and responsible cleaning purchasing" signed between the FEP and the networks of buyers and major customers, namely the National Purchasing Council and ARSEG (the association of directors involved in the environment and work). These commitments include the importance for public and private markets to establish a balanced relationship and to take into account the issues of the cleaning sector, to promote day-to-day and continuous work when possible, in line with the search for the best social and societal value with the choices in terms of price and finally, to apply the recommendations and advice offered on the cleanliness purchase site.
"In the light of the strong commitments made by stakeholders in the sector, the cleaning & hygiene professions will finally be able to be known and recognised as useful and essential to all."
23rd September 2021