On Saturday November the 17th, a new campaign in the cleaning sector of the Netherlands has started. It’s an initiative from the trade union, but unlike in other union campaigns, this time the cleaners themselves will take action. It is David against Goliath , only 7% of the cleaners are organised, fighting against some of the biggest cleaning companies in Europe. The cleaners need all the help they can get. We, social organisations involved with the campaign, call out to all people concerned with social justice, to help us make this campaign a success. Join us, participate, come to the campaign launch on Saturday November 17th or subscribe to the newsletter below.
This is a struggle for better conditions and for the right to fight! The campaign ‘Cleaners for a better future’ aims to improve the working conditions of 150,000 cleaners in the Netherlands by winning a better contract. Most importantly the campaign is a struggle for stronger self-organisation among workers in the cleaning sector. Cleaners, of whom 90 percent are migrants and 80 percent women, desire real lasting improvements - they are fighting for a dignified wage of (at least!) 10 euros an hour to be able to sustain their families, more working hours, work protection, more respect and the right to organise freely without repression. The clients who hire the cleaning companies, multinational corporations, banks, insurance companies, public institutions must show social responsibility by telling their subcontractors to do the right thing and improve the conditions and stop repressing union organisation. Cleaners are getting organised, and creating community alliances to demand a better life for themselves and their families!
The cleaning sector is one of the worst sectors of the Dutch labor market to work in. Corporations and government have outsourced cleaning, and the cleaning companies are engaged in fierce competition to offer the cheapest cleaning services. As a result, the working conditions of cleaners are under pressure. The salary is really low, in between € 8,90 and € 9,05 per hour, before taxes. An amount you can barely sustain yourself on, let alone a family. Sick leave is being subtracted from cleaner’s wages, or is not accepted. A lot of cleaners work in constant fear for their boss or manager, who often keep the work rhythm high through intimidation and repression, and do not allow any trade union activity. Next to that, a large majority of the cleaners are migrants from all parts of the world, making communication between workers difficult. A lot of cleaners don’t know their rights. The campaign hopes to change that, by bringing cleaners together, and fight for a better contract.