Whilst the glitz and glamour of the Oscars, BAFTA's Tony's and Emmy's might still be a month away, award season kicked off early this year as the 2012 Loo of the Year nominees were given their just rewards. Whilst they might sound like a slightly hokey ceremony, the Loo of the Year awards are actually serious business in the cleaning world. Having just celebrated their 25th year, the Loo of the Year awards reward excellence in maintaining safe, accessible and sanitary washrooms across several different categories. Previous winners include McDonald's, ASDA and The Trafford Centre in Manchester - as well as 2010's winners JD Wetherspoon's. This year, however, the spoils went to the hard-working contract cleaners at Staffordshire County Council, for their continued excellence across a wide range of council-operated facilities. Other nominated companies and commercial bodies included McDonald's in England, whilst JD Wetherspoon public houses scooped a prize for their accessibility and Eurostar Passenger Terminals bagged a prive for changing facilities. Here's hoping for a few more London councils and companies to get nominated in 2013!
As an office cleaning company in London, we like to think of ourselves as pretty magical. People leave work at 5pm, and when they arrive at 9am the next day, desks have been cleaned, floors have been treated bins emptied and so on.
However, one curious case in the US has seen a woman dubbed the 'Cleaning Fairy' sentenced with trespassing and other criminal charges. Homeowner Sherry Bush was left with her 'jaw on the floor' as she returned home to find the washing up taken care of, vacuuming done and rubbish taken out to the curb. And not because her teenage daughter had finally done her chores - because there was a hastily-scrawled 'bill' on a napkin on the table. Thinking a commercial cleaning company had dispatched someone to the wrong address, Mrs Bush called the number - belonging to one Susan Warren - on the invoice/napkin and was calmly informed that there was no error, and that Mrs Warren would be expecting $75 (£48) for her unrequested cleaning services. Rather than settling the bill, Sherry Bush took the matter up with the police, who have sentenced 53-year-old Susan Warren, to 20 hours of community service after pleading guilty to one of the most unusual cases of attempted burglary you'll ever hear. Apparently, after driving around a neighbourhood of large houses and lacking 'something to do', Warren broke in, took care of some household tasks and left her invoice. Saying she owns a cleaning business, Warren claimed she sometimes enters homes, cleans them and leaves a bill - telling the court 'I do this all the time'. And she wasn't lying. Last year, Warren as charged with trespassing for a similar 'cleaning fairy' visit. We'd hope that attempted burglary charge will make this her last unrequested cleaning job.
Following the late 90's move away from chlorofluorocarbon solvents (CFCs to the uninitiated), another major shake up could be coming to every corner of the cleaning industry, as new regulations are being trialled in the US. The OTC - or O-Zone Transport Commission - has been tasked with achieving better air quality by the Federal Clean Air Act - and one of the ways it's aiming to do so is cutting down on VOC's - Volatile Organic Compounds. Whilst you might not have heard of the term VOC before, you will have heard of the compounds that fall under it's umbrella; Formaldehyde, Benzene and byproducts of seemingly innocuous appliances like office cleaning equipment and cleaners. In fact, anything that involves heating-up something to use it (laser printers, floor cleaners, carpet treaters) does have a chance to produce a VOC as a by-product/ Whilst only coming into effect in the US this month, it won't be too long before London office cleaning companies like ourselves will have to make the adjustments to our cleaning methods - but rest assured - we'll be fully compliant when it does arrive on our shores!
A recent research conducted by the Institute for Public Policy Research revealed that two-thirds of the British working population would support government action to increase the wages of low-paid workers, including office cleaners. The report also concluded that the gap in pay between top and bottom levels of a organisation is constantly growing and government, business and trade unions should sit down to discuss ways to make pay fairer for low-paid workers. It also revealed that there is strong public opposition to this growing pay gap. The research interviewed 2,337 members of the public and the great majority, 82% agreed that it is down to the Government to redress growing pay inequalities in both the public and private sectors. Using the example of office cleaners who earn on average £14,000 - should get a 19% pay rise, suggested the research. When questioned about the findings of this research Chairman of the British Cleaning Council Mark Woodhead said: "These results chime with our own efforts to raise the status of cleaners, and show that in the public's mind, cleaners are not being paid fairly, people clearly want to see cleaners who work hard and do a decent job receive more recognition and better rewards. "Fair pay and the value we place on cleaning is one of the major challenges we face as an industry, and it will be a key component of the debate on corporate social responsibility that will take place at our October conference." The British cleaning industry is a multi-million pound industry that needs to be closely monitored by the government and trade unions like the British Cleaning Council so injustices are not committed to its workers and so the money doesn't stay at the top of the pyramid. In October the British Cleaning Council will hold a session on fair pay and living wage at the annual British Cleaning Conference in London. About the British Cleaning Council The British Cleaning Council is the voice of the UK cleaning industry. It was established in 1982 to coordinate the affairs of the industry and to be responsible at home and abroad on industry matters. http://www.britishcleaningcouncil.org/ Tickets for the British Cleaning Council can be purchased at the following web address: http://www.britishcleaningcouncil.org/cleaningconference.html For competitively priced London office cleaning services please contact Total Clean for a no obligation quote.