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Whether he was on air as a result of what have been dubbed the ‘Marmite Wars’ or whether he’d have been given airtime anyway, Tesco chairman John Allen was talking on BBC Radio Four’s Today programme on Tuesday and while I disagree with a lot of what he said, he did raise a point that’s pertinent to the cleaning industry in the UK – and indeed globally…
The question of using low-skilled or unskilled migrant labour to fill jobs – such as cleaning – that the locals perhaps don’t want to do. It’s something we all seem to do and it certainly got me thinking…
If you didn’t hear the discussion, he argued that the UK should not be considering accepting only highly skilled migrants – a move that some people are calling for and which I know that many in this industry find worrying.
He said: “I think we need many people who do much more ordinary, but nonetheless extremely important, jobs.”
That’s a sentiment with which those in the cleaning industry and many at the receiving end of our services will agree, since a large proportion of the major contractors rely on low-skilled immigrant labour to keep cleaning and facilities management contracts running smoothly. And yes – this is important work.
The industry has done a lot to raise its profile with the general public over recent years and I’d hate to return to the days when cleaners were in short supply and an entire shift could disappear ‘down the road’ if the local Tesco raised the minimum hourly rate of pay over what they themselves were earning, leaving the contractor in dire straits.
But what’s the answer? Is it a case of needing to be more flexible and perhaps ensuring that everyone who comes into the country – any country – to work, carries a work permit?
Employers in the UK are currently responsible for checking the credentials of employees and face heavy fines for employing those that don’t have a right to work here (something I’ve never felt is reasonable or fair). Should the onus perhaps be placed once again on the shoulders of those that man our borders?
Love him or hate him, you have to admit that John Allen has raised a point that needs to be considered… I’d be interested in learning your views – and as I said, this isn’t just a UK thing but a global question.
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This Week's News
SC Johnson, the maker of trusted household products such as Glade, Raid, Pledge Mr Muscle and Off!, announced yesterday that it is returning to the industrial and institutional (I&I) cleaning business.
"This is the right time to re-enter the I&I business," said Fisk Johnson, chairman and CEO of SC Johnson. "Our purchase of the Deb Group and Steris Applied Infection Control and the recent move to bring back our SC Johnson-branded products from Sealed Air/Diversey to the new SC Johnson Professional business, gives us a lot of momentum to re-enter this space in a big way."
Persistence Market Research delivers useful insights on the global pest control products and services market in a new report titled, 'Global market study on pest control products and services: North America expected to be the most attractive regional market'. It predicts that the global pest control products and services market value will increase from US$ 16.01bn in 2015 to us$ 16.94bn by 2016 end and exhibiting a Compound Annual Growth Rate of 5.4% over the next 10 years.
With our nation's streets becoming more congested and local authorities' desire for more round-the-clock cleaning in our towns and cities, Trafalgar Cleaning Equipment has launched two new battery powered machines designed with operators and pedestrians in mind - the Eco City Sweeper 2 and Eco City Picker.
Yesterday, Bunzl announced its trading statement for the period since 30 June 2016 and revealed that it has completed three further acquisitions: in the UK, Ireland and the Czech Republic.
Overall performance is as was expected and at constant exchange rates, Group revenue for the third quarter has increased by 7%, with 3% contributed by acquisitions and 4% due to the impact of additional trading days relative to the comparable period last year. Underlying revenue for the quarter was at a similar level to the third quarter last year, although the recent weakening of sterling has had a significant positive impact.
In recognition of the crucial role The British Institute of Cleaning Science plays in protecting and improving standards in the cleaning industry, BICSc is making some important changes to the structure and routes to Institute membership.
From 1st April 2017, BICSc will be focusing its routes to membership on education. New members will, therefore, be able to apply for one of the following three membership grades. The membership grade you are eligible for will depend on your level of training as follows:
Keep Britain Tidy has launched a new action plan to tackle the growing problem of fly-tipping. Its plan outlines six things that, it believes, will make a measurable difference and support its ambition to reduce the reported incidents of fly-tipping in England by 50%.
The organization is calling on Government to make some of the £1.1 billion proceeds of the Landfill Tax available to local authorities to help keep household waste recycling centres open and reduce or eliminate charges for bulky waste collections.
Under the agreement, Diversey Care will have the exclusive license to sell Discovery Robotics' floor cleaning machines in the Americas and Europe. In addition, Diversey Care will have non-exclusive rights in all other global territories.
The contract award, which started in July, initially managing the cleaning services at 15 selected stores in the East Midlands & Anglia, has now been extended to 161 stores across the country.
The Oxford Bus Company, part of the Go Ahead Group, has outsourced the cleaning, shunting and fuelling services of its buses and coaches for the first time in its history, awarding a three-year contract to Cordant Cleaning, part of Cordant Group.
It builds on the 15-year relationship between the two Groups that has seen Cordant Cleaning take responsibility for all of Go Ahead London's bus operations covering 2,500 vehicles at 18 locations.
Bona, hardwood floorcare and maintenance specialist since 1919, announced this week a partnership with Healthy Schools Campaign (HSC) to support the Green Clean Schools programme. It also supported the forum at ISSA/Interclean North America in Chicago this week - a forum which brought the issue of healthy approaches to cleaning to the forefront of hundreds of school and universities.
Bradleys Dry Cleaning is not just your ordinary dry cleaning and laundry outfit. The family business, located in Walnut Tree, Milton Keynes, has been in operation since 1912 when it was set up by Bernard Bradley but in fact the Bradley family expertise in the textile and textile aftercare trade goes back much further, to 1832.
Now run by Howard Bradley, this independent specialist business with its time-served, experienced team and knowledge gained over the decades, can design an appropriate cleaning process on an individual item basis, rather than using a one solution fits all philosophy.
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Recent UK News
Mitie has been awarded a new five-year FM contract with Manchester Airports Group (MAG), consolidating FM services across three airports into one integrated contract.
MAG is the UK's leading airport group, serving over 50 million passengers and handling over 670,000 tonnes of air freight every year, through its ownership and operation of Manchester, London Stansted, East Midlands and Bournemouth airports.
The Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency launched yesterday a review on proposals to improve rules for approved tachograph centres. These ATCs - of which there are around 600 in Great Britain - install, calibrate and inspect tachographs, which record information about driving time, speed and distance. Proposals include:
- removing the requirement for ATCs to offer analogue tachograph calibration
"We have decided to delay the launch slightly to give us time to review and refine the awards with a view to launching a new and exciting programme in 2017," says Peter Oliver, general manager UK, Ireland and France, Kimberly-Clark Professional.
Events & Exhibitions
ISSA North America
Loo of the Year Awards
Budapest Cleaning Show