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Staff Shortage Crisis Looms in the Cleaning Industry as Winter Flu and COVID-19 Cases Surge

Updated: Feb 29

The British Cleaning Council (BCC) has issued a warning about an imminent staff shortage crisis in the cleaning and hygiene sector.

A photo of spacious building.

With winter flu and a potential surge in COVID-19 cases on the horizon, the BCC fears that the lack of personnel could compromise the cleanliness and safety of public spaces. Despite efforts to engage with the government, the BCC's concerns have been largely disregarded. In this blog post, we delve into the potential challenges of a "twindemic" and the ongoing staff shortages in the cleaning sector.


1. The Threat of a "Twindemic":

The UK Health Security Agency has already raised concerns about the combined impact of widespread flu and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Lower levels of natural immunity due to reduced exposure to flu over the last few years, coupled with the emergence of COVID-19 variants, could create a potentially severe situation in the coming months.


2. Ongoing Staff Shortages:

The cleaning sector has been grappling with staff shortages for some time. Recent data shows a significant increase in job postings for cleaning staff, surpassing rates in other essential sectors. Immigration rule changes classifying cleaning and hygiene operatives as low-skilled have made it challenging for overseas staff to find employment in the industry. Additionally, the industry has historically relied on employees from various nationalities, making it difficult to fill vacant positions with UK nationals.


3. Implications for Cleanliness and Hygiene:

Skilled and professional cleaning staff play a crucial role in maintaining high standards of cleanliness and hygiene in hospitals, healthcare facilities, public transport, workplaces, and more. The lack of personnel puts the cleanliness and safety of these spaces at risk, potentially leading to the transmission of viruses and compromising public health.


4. Government Inaction:

Despite the BCC's attempts to engage with the government on the issue, their concerns have been largely ignored. This lack of attention raises questions about the government's priorities and the impact it may have on public health and the economy.


As winter approaches and the threat of flu and COVID-19 looms, the cleaning industry faces an impending staff shortage crisis. The lack of personnel poses significant challenges to maintaining cleanliness and hygiene standards in public spaces. Urgent action is required from the government to address the staffing issues and prioritize the importance of the cleaning and hygiene sector in safeguarding public health and the economy.


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