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

Efforts were also made in some cases to address the

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Efforts were also made in some cases to address the issue of too short hours; at BankL extra hours were offered to staff who wanted them and those who provided cover were first in line for vacancies on the full-time day shift; at CouncilL mobile teams were being used to reduce the fragmentation of contracts to some extent: So what they’ve decided is they can service that better by having a mobile team, rather than a one hour clean. If they were cleaning for one hour in these very small locations, they can actually employ a team and give them concentrated work and obviously resource a vehicle and do it that way. (CouncilL procurement manager) When renegotiating staffing and schedules at the hospital some attempt was made to offer arrangements to fit the needs of staff - for example the dedicated weekend shifts had proved a popular alternative for some - but those who could not make the earlier starts had to settle for shorter hours. A key issue for this study is the role of the actual contracting relations in shaping these working time outcomes. Much of the rescheduling arose out of clients’ concerns over costs (the council, the college, the hospital), security (the bank, the college), cleaning standards (the hospital) or business problems (the hotel requiring an earlier finish to room cleaning). However, there is also evidence that some of the issues arose out of the cleaning contractors’ independent efforts to reduce costs: for example, the use of TWA staff at the hospital to avoid premiums for unsocial hours, even though the PFI contract was negotiated on the basis of using NHS terms and conditions of employment for all subcontracted staff (via the Two Tier Code collective agreement). Likewise, at the airport, the contract would have taken into account the cost of TUPE transferred staff, but zero hours staff were used to provide cover for illness and holidays to avoid the premium overtime payment. Overall, the cleaning contractors were clearly of the view that, for the most part, premiums for unsocial hours, particularly for weekend work, were not a necessary part of employment terms and conditions, and even premiums for night work were either low or non existent. This evidence suggests there has been a further reinforcement of the general trend already identified at the end of the 1990s for employers to regard every hour in the 24/7 calendar as equivalent and not commanding a higher price (Rubery et al., 2005b). 97
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COMING CLEAN: CONTRACTUAL AND PROCUREMENT PRACTICES 14. Encouraging skill development, worker discretion and career paths The case studies largely demonstrate the limited opportunities for training and career development for cleaners. Training opportunities tend to emphasise on-the-job training in narrow, functional skills and the development of rather basic literacy, numeracy and communication skills. Also, the career options for cleaning staff are often limited, reflecting the predominance of elementary positions which constitute almost four-fifths of all jobs (Asset Skills, 2013a). At the same time, there is
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