Our Development Director Tim Thorlby blogs about an exciting new project taking off in the City of London, with a little help from CTC…
Last September I blogged about a new ‘ethical cleaning company’ that we were helping a City church to set up. Well, six months of hard work later I’m pleased to say that London’s newest cleaning company is nearly ready to launch!
The vision for ‘Clean for Good’ is simple:
We will provide an excellent cleaning service to customers in London but we will do so in a socially responsible way. We will pay our cleaners properly and treat them decently.
By doing so, we intend to reinvent the cleaning sector – moving away from low pay, poor retention and dead-end work to create satisfying and rewarding work, and cleaning services that everyone can be proud of.
Why are we doing this? Because the cleaning sector in London has become notorious for treating its workers badly. In fact, this is true of many sectors where ‘hidden workers’ do long hours for low pay out of the sight of the customers who pay for them and whose main concern is to pay the lowest possible price for their services. There are many stories of poor working conditions in sectors like cleaning, security, couriers/delivery and hospitality.
London has a hidden army of workers whose services are absolutely essential for the functioning of our city but whose contribution is not being fairly recognised. It seems that injustice is easier to tolerate when it’s out of sight and can be justified by hiding behind ‘market forces.’ But our markets are meant to work for our society, not the other way round.
This situation does not call for charity – it calls for justice. We need more businesses willing to treat their workers fairly, and more customers willing to pay for that. That is what a ‘just economy’ looks like.
So, Clean for Good is not a charity, it’s a business. Our ambition is for it to be good business which is socially responsible and contributes to a better society. Its aim is to provide excellent office cleaning services in central and inner London from summer 2015. It will create new jobs – hopefully over 20 in the first few years. What is different about this cleaning company is that every single worker:
– will be paid the London Living Wage or higher (£9.15 per hour)
– will have guaranteed minimum hours – so no zero-hours contracts
– will receive all of the normal terms and conditions that workers get in decent jobs – paid sick leave, paid annual leave, uniforms provided – nothing fancy, just the sort of decent conditions every worker expects
– will benefit from training and development
– every worker will be treated with the respect and dignity that an essential service like cleaning deserves – and we will expect our customers to treat our workers the same
When Clean for Good opens for business this summer, it will also be sourcing cleaning products that are eco-friendly and Fairtrade wherever possible and will, over time, begin to recruit and train cleaners from more disadvantaged backgrounds to help them into a pattern of regular paid employment. We are working with a number of charities to establish partnerships to achieve this.
You might wonder why every cleaning company doesn’t do this? The answer is simple; it costs money. By paying its workers properly and providing decent terms and conditions, Clean for Good’s services will cost more than most other cleaning companies. But we are confident that more and more companies and charities in London recognise the importance of paying the Living Wage. If you want to benefit from a fair cleaning service, then it is going to cost more. 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 that.
Clean for Good is being led by the team at St Andrew by the Wardrobe – one of the City of London’s oldest churches – and has benefited from strong support from a growing number of well-wishers and advisors. CTC has been delighted to support this partner church by preparing the business plan, as part of our programme of work to promote more ‘enterprising churches.’
The Business Plan is done. The branding is being finalised. The first investors and customers are now signing up.
> If you are interested in investing get in touch – Clean for Good is a not-for private-profit business, so we will only accept investments from public or charitable bodies.
> If you would like your office cleaning from summer 2015, get in touch!
You can now follow Clean for Good on Twitter, the website is coming soon and if you are interested in talking about a possible investment or want your office cleaned please email Miriam on firstname.lastname@example.org