EFCI News – Issue 6 | April 2020
EFCI News – Issue 6 | April 2020
CLEANING KEY FOR THE EUROPEAN EXIT STRATEGY: A SECTORIAL APPROACH NEEDED FOR RECOVERY
The Presidents of the European Commission and Council presented on 15 April a Joint European Roadmap providing a common framework for European and national authorities to phase-out Covid-19 containment measures. Among the recommendations to implement the plan cleaning and disinfection have a key role: (i) “intensifying regular cleaning and disinfection of transport hubs, shops and workplaces” (see point 6.1c) and (ii) enhanced cleaning of schools and universities (see point 6.7.a). The Roadmap also underlines that communication efforts to prevent spreading of the virus should be sustained, including on the cleaning of high-contact surfaces (see point 6.8).
The EFCI welcomes the specific recommendations regarding cleaning and hygiene measures. Cleaning and facility services companies are ready to continue working to ensure collective safety, and ready to take on the challenge of ensuring the sanitisation operations necessary for the reopening of buildings and facilities. Nevertheless, they also call for the support of European and national authorities to make that possible.
Firstly, and in order to ensure the continuity in the provision of professional cleaning services, national authorities and European institutions must recognise, when not already so, cleaning, hygiene and sanitisation operations as essential activities, and cleaning agents as key workers.
Further, cleaning companies have been severely hit by the closure of buildings and by the suspension or termination of private and public contracts. The impact in employment of such measures is under analysis, but liquidity problems and the increase costs on companies due to sanitisation operations are putting cleaning companies under strain. A great number of cleaning companies are facing severe problems to reopen across Europe. Furthermore, access to protective equipment is still a problem while the safety of cleaning agents is a priority for companies.
Against this background, the EFCI welcomes the work of the European Institutions regarding the Recovery Fund and calls for a sectorial approach in the design of the specific support measure. We therefore welcome the approach described by the Commissioner for the Internal Market Thierry Breton on 24 April: “the first objective should be to identify which European “industrial ecosystems” are to be prioritised.” This vision would ensure that cleaning and facility services companies, together with other business services, can count on the necessary and urgent support to overcome the negative economic impact of Covid-19 and enable our companies to continue working to safeguard public health also in the recovery phase.
JOINT STATEMENT WITH UNI EUROPA ON THE IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON THE CLEANING SECTOR
In their joint statement, the European Social Partners in Industrial Cleaning welcome the general recognition of the crucial role that employers and employees in the sector are currently playing to contain the spread of Covid-19 and safeguard public health. Quality cleaning, disinfection and sanitisation services will be crucial to enable the reopening of activities essential to our societies and economies.
They call European and national decision makers to:
Further, the Social Partners encourage public and private buyers engaged in the selection of cleaning services to support high social standards as well and ensuring the quality of their selection by following the advice provided in their jointly developed Best Value Guide for the procurement of cleaning services. The Social Partners finally underline that the sector is committed to continue providing its quality services and that, with the adequate support from European and national authorities, it can greatly contribute to Europe’s economic and social recovery.
EFCI MEMBERS’ ACTIVITIES IN THE CONTEXT OF COVID-19