Cleaners left out of sight, out of mind at Christmas parties

Dec 17 2004 by Nic Paton Print This Article

Two out of three cleaners are over-looked when it comes to being invited to the office Christmas party, a survey has suggested.

The poll of 200 cleaners by trade body the British Cleaning Council found office cleaners were generally unrecognised, unsung and, when it came to the Christmas party, totally ignored.

This is despite the fact many cleaners work long, unsocial hours and, without them, most offices would quickly grind to a halt, it argued.

The poll turned up stories including one cleaner who had worked for a company for eight years before she was finally invited to the office party.

Council chairman Paul Pearce said: “Despite their best efforts to keep business premises clean and tidy for office staff, cleaners continue to remain an invisible presence in the working world.

"We are saddened at such findings as without our silent army of cleaners we’d be working in squalor,” he added.

It is estimated around two million people are employed as cleaners in the UK, or about one in 12 of the country’s workforce.

Attitudes ranged from being indifferent about them, to ignoring them completely, said Pearce.

“Many office employees don’t even know their name. It would be great to see companies buy their cleaners a Christmas present at the very least,” he explained.

Cleaners often felt they were not considered part of the office staff, particularly if they are employed by contractors, he added.