Since The Clean Space was founded nearly two decades ago, at its core has been the principle that ‘if we look after our cleaners, our cleaners will, in turn, go above and beyond for our customers’.
This time last year, The Clean Space completed its acquisition of London-based cleaning company Abelian UK Ltd. When The Clean Space acquired Abelian, it had just 1.65% of total contracted cleaning hours paid at the real Living Wage.
This was a stark contrast with The Clean Space’s customer base, where nearly three-quarters of hours were paid at the real Living Wage rates (and growing).
United by a shared mission to “make the world of work a better place for its customers and staff”, The Clean Space prioritised highlighting the plethora of benefits of fair pay to their new customers. And the uptake was overwhelming….
Thanks to our teams’ incredible hard-work, dedication and unwavering belief in doing the right thing for their teams, teamed with the empathy and generosity of our customers, we’ve seen acquired hours paid at Living Wage rates increase to over 63%.
This is a significant achievement that has (and will continue to) enrich the lives of hundreds of our cleaners, benefitting both their wellbeing and productivity in their roles for the long-term. At today’s London real Living Wage rates, it represents nearly £5k per annum more in pay per cleaning operative.
“Customers are asking to uplift as soon as possible because they see the impact the financial crisis is having and feel a sense of duty to act, if able. They also welcome the positive impact fair pay has on the quality of service, and the recruitment and retention of reliable staff.
The critical role cleaners play in keeping communities, businesses and the public safe is too often undervalued. Cleaning operatives have traditionally had a lot to contend with; low pay, challenging conditions, risks to their health, commuting long distances between sites, and working unsociable hours with short notice – all factors that make it impossible for them to plan financially. And that’s before we consider the big impact of the current cost-of-living crisis. Financial worry is a huge distraction. By removing that distraction, we help our cleaning teams focus on delivering the best service for our customers consistently.
We want to see cleaners properly recognised for the important role they play in keeping communities, businesses and the public safe day-in-day-out. Paying Living Wage wherever possible is a positive step toward repaying the essential work they do and offers recognition for the wider value cleaners create.”
– Stefano Cabras, MD of The Clean Space.
Making a real difference to the lives of our cleaners
For our team of experienced contract managers, introducing the new Living Wage rates each year is not a chore. They would tell you it’s a labour of love and something they thrive on doing for the benefit of their people and teams. Securing Living Wage rates for their staff gives managers a real sense of purpose in their work and this keeps them happy and engaged. They see the ‘people behind the payslip’ and there’s nothing they revel in more than making a real difference in the lives of their teams.
The cost-of-living hike waits for nobody
Paying the real Living Wage is often a voluntary move. Increasingly we see customers ask to uplift as soon as possible as they see the impact the financial crisis is having on their lowest-paid workers and feel a sense of duty to act urgently if they can.
The pandemic has without doubt highlighted the importance of their work in keeping us all safe and well and this is drawing more and more businesses to want to pay Living Wage to all their people, employed or contracted.
Charlie Mowat, CEO and Founder of The Clean Space commented:
“The spiralling cost of living for our employees doesn’t wait for a new tax year to kick in. Therefore, we don’t waste any time in securing the new rates for our team as soon as they are announced. ”
‘Paying it forward’ has benefits for all
Paying the real Living Wage has significant benefits not only for staff but for businesses too. Whether it’s easier recruitment of the best talent, increased staff productivity, reduced sickness, absence and presenteeism, or retaining staff for longer, there is always a solid business case for considering implementing Living Wage rates for your cleaning teams.
April Collingwood, who has been with The Clean Space for 13 years, now Deputy Operations Manager for the London area, commented:
“In the current economic climate, those customers who can afford to pay Living Wage do. There are obvious human capital and strategic benefits but for most, it’s a decision made by both the head and the heart.
Paying Living Wage rates for cleaning roles is about perceived value. It’s no surprise that jobs advertised at Living Wage rates attract more applicants, but the candidates also tend to be more experienced, reliable and stay longer in their roles. Cleaners feel valued, and motivated meaning productivity is elevated from the outset.”
In addition to the business and individual benefits – recent research by The Smith Institute found that if just 25% of all below Living Wage jobs in the UK were raised to the real Living Wage – it would boost the UK economy by £1.5 billion.
Talk to us about the real Living Wage & how you can get involved
The Clean Space is a long-standing Recognised Living Wage Service Provider and continues to strongly advocate for fair pay for its cleaning teams.
An early adopter of the benefits of paying real Living Wage vs. the national minimum wage, CEO, Charlie Mowat, sits on the Living Wage Recognised Service Provider Leadership Group (RSPLG) and helps to influence the marketplace on matters relating to the development of the Living Wage recognition scheme across the UK. The leadership group plays an active role in the growth of the real Living Wage in the outsourcing, facilities and cleaning sectors.
Please get in touch if you’d like to discuss either implementing Living Wage rates for your cleaning team or for more info about becoming involved as a Recognised Living Wage Service Provider.