research-report-96-coming-clean-contractual-and-procurement-practices.doc

The quality of new job growth is also under question

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The quality of new job growth is also under question, particularly the tendency for employers to create short hours, insecure and low-paid jobs: the share of male workers in part-time work has increased and the share of all part-timers reporting involuntary part-time work has tripled; the use of zero hours contracts has increased (possibly linked to avoidance of the new Agency Worker Regulations); and the share of workers in low-wage jobs has remained unchanged at around 22% (and 41% among female part-time workers). A key problem in this context is the weak union representation of low-wage workers. Commercial cleaning sector context The cleaning sector employs close to half a million workers across more than 13,000 enterprises and generates an annual revenue of around £8 billion. Large firms dominate and acquisitions in the sector have increased the dominance of multinational corporations. The market for cleaning services is characterised by the extensive practice of outsourcing (or subcontracting). Research on the ‘fragmenting of work’ through subcontracting relatively low-skill services suggests this has a generally negative impact on pay and employment conditions in the cleaning sector. The cleaning workforce has the following characteristics: Four-fifths are female Four-fifths work part-time Ethnic minorities are over-represented Migrant workers are over-represented Qualifications are lower than average. Conditions of work in the UK cleaning sector are poor. It has the lowest level of median pay among all sectors and makes extensive use of the national minimum wage as the ‘going rate’ of pay; more than 70% of workers are paid less than the official low-wage threshold and two-thirds are paid less than the UK living wage. Employer investment in skills and training is patchy with most skills acquired through informal on-the-job training. As a consequence, staff turnover is high. The weak presence of trade unions means employers largely set wages and other conditions unilaterally. Nevertheless, the experience of living wage campaigns suggests forms vi
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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY of collective action are possible, particularly for those cleaning in the public sector or who have transferred from a client organisation to a cleaning firm. Case studies Six case studies were selected for detailed investigation in different sectors, across England, Scotland and Wales and with a mix of public and private ownership of client organisations. By focusing on a number of different scenarios, they specifically captured the wider organisational and institutional context of the cleaning sector, providing insight into current practices. All cases involved a large or very large cleaning firm. Following a detailed sample design, the six cases are: 1. An airport in England with a current outsourcing contract that started in 2012 when around 70 staff were transferred. The current contract was awarded on price and the introduction of new zonal cleaning procedures.
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