Cleaning and Low Pay

Cleaning and Low Pay

Why are cleaners so poorly paid and why do companies opt for the lowest rates giving no option but for cleaning companies to pay their staff the NMW?

Competition is one answer, with so many cleaning companies competing to get the business prices drop and drop, margins decease and overheads have to be reduced. The biggest overhead by far to any cleaning company is labour, time is money, the more cleaning time the more it costs, the more the the cleaning staff are paid the higher the quote.

It doesn’t resolve the fundamental issue that cleaners are underpaid and poorly motivated, getting cleaning staff is no problem, getting good cleaning staff and retaining them is nigh on impossible with the resources available to cleaning companies nowadays.

Prices in London are that their lowest ever rate, but wages, insurances, advertising  energy costs keep rising.

Costs though are a factor in any business’s strategy and raising the NMW is a difficult nut to crack.

From the period of 2004 to 2006 the rate of minimum wage increase was virtually in line with that of the rate of GDP per captia increase. This is a reflection of the UK Low Pay Commission’s (LPC) objective of trying to balance the needs of businesses with that of low wage earners.

Up to 2007 the LPC followed a policy of recommending increases at a rate above inflation. However when a small decline in the number of jobs in low paying sectors was observed during that year the LPC subsequently recommended an increase in line with the rate of inflation rather than above; much to the consternation of trade union members. In 2009 the LPC again had to play a delicate balancing act between business leaders and low wage earners. Business leaders pressed for a freeze in the minimum wage, while union leaders pressed for an above inflation rate increase. Ultimately the LPC recommended a modest increase that satisfied neither side.

Nevertheless the approach was again consistent with the need to balance the objective of protecting low income workers jobs and sustaining their purchasing power.

However it should be noted that while the LPC recommends the appropriate wage rate it is the Government that agrees and implements the rate. It is likely that political considerations influence the decision making process. Prior to the recent General Election the Labour Party pledged to substantially increase the minimum wage. With the party doing poorly in the polls many saw this as an attempt to appeal to their base support. Business leaders responded by warning that such an increase in the present economic climate could harm the employment prospects of young workers.

Cleaning Supervisor Jobs and Vacancies London

– London
Cleaning Supervisor Jobs and Vacancies LondonApprox 10 PER WEEK,mon to fri, 7:30pm to 9:30pm

Location LONDON

Covering London areas – arrange own travel to get to monitor client sites

Duration Permanent

Cleaning supervisors required in London to cover London and Greater London areas

Description of cleaning supervisor London

Must have previous experience of supervising cleaning operatives. Must have excellent verbal communication skills. Working in London carrying out site visits to check that the standard of cleaning is acceptable. Training cleaners in the use of the equipment and the safe use of the chemical cleaning liquids.  Checking stock in the cleaners cupboards on site and making sure that supplies do not run out. Organising holiday/sick cover for all sites when employees are absent. This may require you to undertake the cleaning yourself on an ad hoc basis. Issuing verbal and written warnings to cleaning employees. Taking photos and employee details for new employees and order ID cards. Issuing new uniform as and when needed. Please do not apply if you not have relevant qualifications or experience.

How to apply

Submit your application here


Cleaning Supervisor Jobs and Vacancies in London

Mobile Cleaning Supervisor Jobs in London – cleaning supervisors vacancies

We are looking for top class mobile cleaning supervisors to supervise and manage our prestigious client base in and around the London area.

You will be required to monitor exisiting staff and train and induct new cleaners and resolve issues as part of delivering a great cleaning servie to our clients.

We have 2 cleaning supervisors jobs working London that are available for an immediate start for the right person

If you think you have what it takes and would like to apply for this mobile cleaning supervisors job – please complete our job cleaning application form here – please make clear that you would like to apply for the mobile cleaning supervisors role when applying.

Creating a great cleaning company

Achieving a positive culture within your cleaning company can be an organic process, developed over time. However, it’s important that you know what you want to achieve, and what the end product looks like, so that you can steer behaviours towards it.

Consider the following tips to see if your cleaning company can benefit from a new outlook on its culture.

Tip one: Define your beliefs and values
As a cleaning contractor, what is it that drives you and your employees to succeed? Is it productivity, efficiency, customer service, going above and beyond, or a combination of these?

Tip two: Clear communication
Make sure that your workers know what they are working towards; what your goals and targets are. Remember to make this a two-way process and encourage them to talk to you about how the business is performing.

Tip three: Lead by example
As a business owner/line manager, it’s important that all employees see you embrace the company beliefs and values and that you all work towards the same goals.

Tip four: Find a balance
You don’t have to decide on either a fun environment or a hard-working one. Work with your team to find the right balance that suits everyone. Remember: happy workers are productive workers.

Cleaning companies and New HSE powers

Cleaning companies need to be aware of the new HSE powers coming into force from October 2012, the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) will be introducing some new legislation, Fees for Intervention (FFI), which will target companies who have breached health and safety laws.

If you break the law and the HSE are called in to investigate, they may be able to recover costs from your cleaning business by charging a fee for their time and effort spent with you putting things right, or taking enforcement actions against your company. The HSE and the Government believe it is right that any business that breaks health and safety laws should pay for the HSE’s time and experience in putting things right. Currently, these costs are paid from the public funds.

The FFI should encourage businesses to comply in the first instance, or put matters right very quickly if they don’t. It will also discourage companies from cutting corners on health and safety issues within their business.

What do I need to do? If your business complies with health and safety laws, then you will have no need to be concerned about these fees. The fees will only apply if an HSE Inspector comes to your site; it will not apply if any other regulators (for example, local authority inspectors) come to your site. FFI will apply to all businesses inspected by the HSE except for; self–employed people who do not put people at risk by their work; businesses that are already paying fees to the HSE through other arrangements; and businesses that deliberately work with certain biological agents.

A “material breach” is where you have broken the law and the HSE finds this is serious enough for them to contact you in writing; this will either be a notification of contravention, an improvement notice or prohibition notice or a prosecution. Examples of material breaches include: not providing the correct guarding or effective safety devices to prevent access to dangerous parts of machinery; and materials containing asbestos, which are in a poor condition, resulting in the potential release of asbestos fibres. The amount for FFI is expected to be £124.00 per hour. You would have 30 days to pay these fees.

Daytime cleaning jobs and vacancies

We are looking for exceptional daytime cleaning staff to work to very high standards in our client’s prestigious buildings in London.

With great rates of pay and a great company to work for we are looking for the best cleaners out there to deliver the best cleaning service to our clients.

If you think you can do this and are looking for a daytime cleaning job or vacancy please complete our cleaning job application form.

Advantages of Daytime Cleaning Services

Daytime cleaning is the right choice for progressive companies

If you are looking for a closely managed, high quality, cost competitive and socially responsible cleaning solution the choice is easy; choose a daytime cleaning regime.

Old-fashioned and negative attitudes towards cleaning persist. Many see it as a low paid, low skilled profession with transient staff who have little commitment to their employers or their work. In addition, daytime office occupiers do not see the hard work that is carried out by their `out of hours’ cleaning team and are therefore inclined to jump to negative conclusions if things aren’t quite right during the day.

A far better way of cleaning, which still keeps costs low and maintains high standards, is to have a full time service which predominantly takes place during normal working hours. It operates under an output specifi- cation requiring the cleaning team to take a smarter approach and only clean areas that actually need cleaning. This is `daytime cleaning’ and it is the only way for the cleaning industry to finally shake off the poor perceptions about it. Unfortunately it is often not very well understood or accepted because culturally it seems too big a step to take.


Cleaning services can be provided by a full time cleaning workforce with tasks such as the removal of waste, maintaining the cleanliness of toilets and kitchenettes and dusting, damp wiping and polishing carried out during normal working hours. Noisy and potentially intrusive cleaning tasks such as floor machine work or vacuuming are still done outside of normal working hours. Typically a daytime cleaning shift is from 5am to 2pm or from 12 noon to 9pm or a combination of both shifts, so there is coverage right the way through the working day.

In large buildings, each cleaning operative is given responsibility for a particular section of the building and is expected to learn the routine and patterns of working in that area so he can carry out the cleaning without interrupting or intruding on the work carried out by the building occu-pants. The cleaning operatives work much more closely with the client’s staff, which leads to enhanced communication and a greater sense of the cleaners being part of the `team’.

All high profile and heavily used areas are cleaned daily, but other areas such as desks are cleaned when they need to be, which may be every other day ± or weekly. The expectation is that the output specification is met, in other words that areas are kept looking clean and that the cleaning operative, with a bit of initial guidance, is the best person to decide how best to achieve this.

An interesting by-product is that because the building users can see the work taking place, their perception of the cleaning service improves. Facilities managers get fewer cleaning-related calls because if something needs doing during the day the cleaner is just asked by the staff member if they can do it. In addition the housekeeping habits of building occupants improve; messy individuals are less likely to continue their messy habits and risk embarrassment if they know the person who will be cleaning it up.

There are many more compelling reasons why UK industry needs to switch to daytime cleaning:

For progressive facilities and property managers looking for a closely managed, high quality, cost competitive and socially responsible cleaning solution the choice is easy; choose a daytime cleaning regime.

Staff turnover in the cleaning industry is very high due to the significant proportion of part time staff employed. A cleaning organisation with a 75% part time workforce who employs 4,000 staff can expect to employ double this number in any one year in order to maintain the workforce at that level: this equates to 100% staff turnover.

In most industries this would be considered to be an administrative disaster, and it is compounded by the higher absenteeism levels associated with a predominantly part time work force. With all the possible pitfalls of checking legal entitlements to work and reside in the UK, aside from assessing basic suitability to do the job, recruiting staff becomes full of risk.

With a much more stable workforce of daytime cleaners, contractors can spend more time focusing professional attention on recruiting the right staff ± people who may become career cleaners and who recognise the great opportunities within the soft ser- vices industry for people with the right diligence and attitude.


There are plenty of formal training opportunities for cleaning and supervisory staff. These include NVQ Level 2 Cleaning and Sup- port Services, Customer Service, Team Leading and a range of other relevant First Aid, Health & Safety, Adult Skills Numeracy and Literacy Courses and English for Speakers of Other Lan- guages (ESOL). Some of these courses are free or government sponsored. However the best that one can do with part time staff is often to have them assessed on the job in a limited number of cleaning routines through the British Institute of Cleaning Science schemes. `Part timers’ often have other family or work commitments which mean that the sacrifice of giving up time outside of their routine work hours is either not possible or doesn’t have enough incentive. Given the practical difficulties of getting part timers to attend these courses it is hardly surprising, bearing in mind high staff turnover, that employers are reluctant to spend the administrative time and money to organise them.

By employing a daytime cleaning regime it becomes practical to formally train staff with all the long term benefits that can be gained from this.


A more reliable, more committed and better trained workforce is more productive. A full time shift has less down time proportionately in setting up and putting away equipment than a two hour part time shift. Further, where there is an `out of hours’ clean supplemented by daytime servicing to heavily used areas, there is some saving in time associated with combining these servicing roles with the daily clean as a single operation.

Daytime cleaning should be more productive, which in turn allows for the staff to be paid at more reasonable `Living Wages’ without the need for them to work the ridiculous hours that we sometimes find in the industry. In London, research by The London School of Economics and the Greater London Authority has calculated that on a 35 hour working week the minimum hourly rate to get above the poverty line is £7.20 per hour. This rate is being called the London Living Wage. This recognition that the current Legal Minimum Wage is far too low in certain areas of the country has been affirmed

However it is socially correct to offer £7.20 per hour as the minimum wage right now for any job in London and many parts of the South East, and more and more employers and property managers are recognising this.


Night workers are more prone to serious health problems involving cardiovascular, osteo articular (bones and joints) and digestive systems. At the root of these problems is the disruption of the body’s natural rhythms, causing detrimental health effects. Studies show that night workers were found to be twice as likely as daytime

workers to develop an irregular heartbeat. This in turn is an indicator of the development of more ser- ious heart problems. The heart is programmed to slow down during hours when it expects the body to sleep and therefore does not respond well to being made to work.

Compounding this is the fact that cleaning is a physically demanding job and as the ISSA recently reported, in many situations a cleaning operative uses several muscle groups more intensively than during a typical gym workout.

Insomnia and sleep deprivation go hand in hand with shift work as well. Research shows that night shift workers are more likely to have poor sleep habits, increasing the likelihood of serious errors resulting from poor psychomotor performance. Chronic sleep deprivation, insomnia and sleep apnea rises to 11% compared to 2- 4% for the general population. In the cleaning industry this is compounded by poor pay rates which encourage workers to have several jobs and work long hours just to make ends meet.

Daytime cleaning reduces the health problems associated with night working. Working

during the day follows the body’s natural rhythms; employees are healthier, happier and more produc- tive. An added benefit to the employer is the removal of the inconvenience and expense of losing hours through sickness. Progressive organisations are starting to recognise that daytime cleaning is a way of demonstrating corporate social responsibility.


Using energy more efficiently is one of the most cost effective means of reducing greenhouse gas emis- sions. Energy is the largest controllable outgoing in running office buildings and averages 22% of total costs in the UK. Lighting, air conditioning and heating costs can be reduced significantly by cutting down the amount of cleaning that takes place outside of working hours. If cleaning is carried out through the night or as a part time out of hours operation there will be greater energy use throughout the building.

There is an environmental duty to reduce energy use, and by selecting a daytime clean you should be able to achieve this.

Daytime cleaning reduces the health problems associated with night working. Working during the day follows the body’s natural rhythms; employees are healthier, happier and more productive.


By having a stable, reliable daytime cleaning staff who are recognised and known by building occupiers, it greatly increases the security of the building. Daytime cleaning means there may also be potential for reducing the manned guarding cover and the costs required to keep your premises safe and secure.


Forward-thinking facilities managers will be keen to introduce daytime cleaning to their premises but like any change it has to be managed carefully.

. Your contractor must allow a proper consultation period to take place with the existing cleaning staff, and notice period and redundancy costs need to be considered.

. The change needs to be communicated to the building occupiers both in terms of what service they can expect to receive and at what time of day.

. The general image and appearance of the cleaning staff needs to be agreed; after all, one of the reasons for changing to a full time day clean is to enhance the image of the service. Machinery that has to be used during the day should be selected to be quiet and preferably without any trailing cables.

. All cleaning staff must be able to communicate well in English, and their induction training needs to include clear instructions on the work that each individual will be expected to perform and the level of contact that these staff will be expected to have with the building users. Some ground rules must be laid out right at the beginning to ensure that the cleaning staff interact in an appropriate way with your staff and that they understand what reasonable requests may be made of them by the building users. These requests must not be to the detriment of completing their daily work routines.

. A sufficient level of ongoing supervision and management time needs to be built into the service by your contractor. You mustn’t allow a change to daytime cleaning to result in you ending up managing the service. That is the con- tractor’s responsibility and under a daytime cleaning regime you should expect any negative comments or complaints to reduce.

Get all of this right with your cleaning contractor, and you may well be remembered as the person who brought your cleaning service into the 21st century.


cleaning work London

We are always looking for outstanding cleaners who want to work in London.

We are a commercial cleaning company who deliver outstanding cleaning service levels to our presigious clients in London.

If you are hardworking, reliable cleaner who wishes to work in the London area and can work to high standards everyday please complete our cleaning job application form here –

London Living Wage – cleaners stories

London is expensive, anyone who lives or visits realises this.

Cleaning is seen as a cheap, unskilled and a cost most businesses wish to reduce. Most companies then complain when cleaners dont turn up, do sloppy work, have no motivation, which means they then spend time and money trying to resolve it again and again.

Paying cleaners more will eliminate many of these problems, all cleaning companies spend their days recruiting new cleaning staff because the old lot have disappeared without a trace, have messed up (despite training  and supervision) and for ever decreasing margins. Hourly rates for cleaning are at their lowest ever, wages (NMW increases each year as does hol pay) and all the other associated costs (such as insurances, advertising, a bewildering amount of employment law and red tape) have risen dramatically.

It is unsustainable.

Why will paying cleaners the London Living Wage help?

Well, why would you clean someone’s toilet (and cleaning a commercial toilet is NOT the same thing as cleaning a domestic one) for not much more than the tube fare it costs you to get to the job in the first place?

Would you not jump ship at the first available opportunity if there was some chance of more money?

Despite many misconceptions, cleaning as a job suits many people, people with families, people who study, the hours and the work is not the problem, the amount they are paid for it is.

To get decent cleaners you need to pay decent rates and then you will get decent cleaning standards, lower turnover of staff, higher job morale. Its not rocket science, you have to pay a bit to get something back.

We have worked out the costs for supplying cleaners at the London Living Wage is around 25% – 30% more than our usual rates. Yes this is significant, yes times are hard, but 25 – 30% higher than the lowest hourly rates ever seen?

The initial cost maybe higher but the advantages are obvious, better cleaning staff, who may stick around longer than 5 minutes, better morale amongst people doing an often lonely job, cleaning staff who can get by rather than living in poverty.

It doesn’t take long to realise it makes sense to pay people a living wage, we as a cleaning company need help to implement it, under current market conditions we cannot do this without the rise but the benefits surely outweigh an increase.

Cleaners tales

“I leave home at 4am to catch the night-bus for a three-hour shift starting at 5.30am,” says Ramon Guerrieri, 25, a Brazilian-born cleaner at UCL. “It’s bad enough getting minimum wage, but to work for three hours in the morning, then return for another three-hour shift in the late afternoon is mad.”

He shakes his head. “Why can’t UCL give me work for six hours in a row? I get £720 a month out of which I pay £440 for my rented room in Dalston, which leaves me a tenner a day for everything else. You can’t survive on that in London. I’ve only been doing this six months, but already I feel ground down.” Another cleaner, Andy, 48, says that in the two years he’s been working at UCL, his pay has remained pinned to the minimum wage. “Recently I requested a raise and the cleaning company said that if I asked again, or complained publicly, I would be looking for another job.”

“My job,” Andy says, “is to clean the buildings on the Bloomsbury campus. I make sure the toilets are stocked, clean classrooms and offices, sweep corridors, empty recycle bins and if a toilet is blocked, I unblock it and mop up. At the end of the month, I take home £780 and try to pay household bills of over £1,250.

“You can’t imagine the stress. Until a few months ago, my wife was also a cleaner [not at UCL] earning £600 a month, but her contract company let her go. We took a £5,000 loan, but the pressure has piled up and two months ago, my wife had a stroke. The doctors say it’s from stress. They suspect there is still bleeding on the brain. My wife, you know, she is only 38, and I don’t know if she will ever be the same again.”