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I'm sure I'm not the only one returning to work this week after the holidays, wondering what this coming year will bring. Just as Cleanzine, (seen as 'alternative' media when we launched in Spring 2002) was able to bring you breaking news rather than 'news' several weeks or months after it had happened and even videos of work being carried out, the alternative media that's surfaced in more recent years, covers news which, for some reason or another, mainstream media doesn't. I'll probably lose some friends by saying so, but I can't help but admire the spirit of those who are taking to the streets in many parts of the world, demanding a less hysterical approach from our leaders and particularly with regard to what appears to be illogical and random discrimination against those who aren't considered to be fully vaccinated. If those in the cleaning industry ran around like headless chickens too, where on earth would we be?
In my final Cleanzine Leader of 2021 I talked about the worrying effect the 'no jab, no job' mandate would have on our health and other care services since a crucial part of these - the cleaning and other 'soft' services - will no doubt also be covered by the mandate. I warned that those providing these services, who choose not to be (or who are unable to be) vaccinated, will leave our industry in droves, causing everything to stop functioning. Yesterday, I received a press release from the British Cleaning Council, which although less political, voiced similar concerns about the shortage of cleaning staff and potential 'burnout' caused by increased workloads for those being asked to fill the gaps. Delia Cannings, deputy chair of the BCC, warns that we are starting to see cracks in the healthcare sector, with shortcuts, slip ups and accidents increasing thanks to rising staff absences due to sickness, self-isolating or fatigue. She says many highly-experienced cleaners are choosing to leave the profession citing their roles as undervalued and the risk factors as too high. I must say, I can't blame them.
For many months now, lots of local councils have withdrawn their garden waste removal services because of staff shortages and some have extended periods between recyclable and landfill waste collections, but already this year, several councils have been forced to suspend refuse collection services altogether.
Worrying times ahead for our industry then - and for the general public too, who now more than ever are relying on our cleaners to keep our environment safe.
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6th January 2022