CLEANERS in London have been described as a "hidden army".
Working long hours to keep the offices of the City gleaming, they
are paid as little as £6.85 an hour.
An alternative is being launched by an inner-city church, St
Andrew-by-the-Wardrobe: a cleaning business that pays a fair wage,
and offers good conditions to its employees. "We think that, if you
know your cleaner can avoid getting three night buses into work, or
getting a second job after working from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m., you may
be willing to be pay that extra," Miriam Goodacre, the parish's
corporate-responsibility officer, said.
Last year, the church commissioned the Centre for Theology and
Community (CTC) to conduct research into the needs of the parish,
and discovered the poor working conditions of some of those working
in the City.
With the support of the CTC, the church is preparing to launch
Clean for Good, a not-for-profit company that will pay the Living
Wage for London (£9.15 an hour). Employees will have guaranteed
minimum hours, paid sick leave, paid annual leave, and will be
offered training and development. Products will be "eco-friendly"
and Fairtrade, wherever possible. The company will work alongside
charities to recruit and train cleaners from disadvantaged
"If you want a fair cleaning service, then it is going to cost
more," the development director at CTC, Tim Thorlby, said. "The
alternative is that we turn our backs on justice in our economy,
and we do not believe that there is a long-term future in
A grant from the Corporation of London means that a business
plan has been developed, and capital is now being raised. A total
of £100,000 is needed to launch the company, which, it is hoped,
will happen in the summer. Clients in the City are also sought.
The Priest-in-Charge of St Andrew's, the Revd Guy Treweek, said
that the initiative meant "giving people an opportunity to become
closer to the person God made them to be: valued, self-confident,
able to support themselves."
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