Social Europe: “Cleaners come out from the shadows to mobilise”

Mark Bergfeld, UNI Europa Director for Property services and Care, writes how cleaners’ fight for justice goes into the next round after the European Parliament elections.

Social Europe: “Cleaners come out from the shadows to mobilise”

‘The EU’s ultra-liberal policies can even be found in Parliament’s toilets’ read the lead into a recent media investigation of cleaners’ abysmal working conditions in the European Parliament. The findings—including the fear of speaking to journalists—should not come as any surprise.

Despite the pandemic and labour shortages, public and private clients continue to view these workers merely as a cost rather than an essential investment in safe, clean and healthy workplaces. To make matters worse, governments and employers have blamed cleaners and their wage demands for inflation, despite the evidence that inflation has been driven by companies raking in super-profits.

Last year, following a European mobilisation of cleaners, a cross-party group of 56 members of the European Parliament sent a letter to the parliament’s president, Roberta Metsola, calling for daytime cleaning in Brussels and Strasbourg. As the newly elected parliament will have the highest presence of far-right and fascist parties since its inception, the fight for cleaners’ rights in the EU institutions and across Europe takes on a new significance.

Read the full article on Social Europe.

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