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Sue Gray Report: Anger Over Finding Downing Street Cleaning Staff Treated with ‘Contempt’

Jim Melvin, Chairman of the British Cleaning Council (BCC), comments on the mistreatment of cleaning and security staff identified by senior civil servant Sue Gray in her full report into lockdown-breaking parties in Downing Street.

Industry leaders are ‘appalled and upset’ after Sue Gray’s report said there were ‘multiple examples of a lack of respect  and poor treatment of security and cleaning staff’ in Number 10. 

At a time when many cleaning and hygiene operational staff were putting themselves at risk to maintain high standards of hygiene and ensure that key workers and the public were safe and well during the pandemic, it is absolutely appalling and upsetting to hear that they were being treated with such contempt by people who sit within Government or the civil service and who frankly should know better. 

Cleaning staff are hardworking, professional and deserve to be respected in their vital work, just like anyone one else, and certainly how the people concerned would expect to be treated. 

In some parts of the cleaning industry, the demand for increased standards of hygiene during the pandemic has combined with severe staff shortages to drive many colleagues close to breaking point.

The Prime Minister himself thanked cleaning staff in Parliament and now we are subjected to the contents of Sue Gray’s report. Which one are we to believe?

What cleaning staff need is support and recognition from the Government, not to be treated with such arrogance or disrespect. 

In that respect, the BCC wishes to engage with the Government and actually see what the claim that steps have been taken really means in detail. We will be formally requesting a meeting to have such engagement and discussion.

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Jim Melvin

Jim Melvin is Chairman of the British Cleaning Council (BCC) and a director of BCC member organisation, the Cleaning and Support Services Association (CSSA). Established in 1982, the British Cleaning Council (BCC) is the authoritative, collective voice of UK’s cleaning, hygiene and waste management industries. The Council’s membership is made up of 21 trade and membership associations which all represent different industry sub-sectors. From contract cleaning to waste management, pest control to housekeeping, training providers to machine manufacturers, chemical suppliers to wheelie-bin washers – the BCC coordinates, campaigns and supports the affairs of the UK’s entire commercial cleaning ecosystem. Key priorities for the BCC and its membership include raising professional standards, employee health and wellbeing, career development and training, improved quality control and better procurement practices. They are also committed to promoting higher levels of cleaning and hygiene across all environments – commercial, domestic and public.

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