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15.06.2024 08:00

Who will clean in the future? The trade unions JHL and PAM are raising the question on the International Justice Day for Cleaners

Cleaners do valuable and important work, and without them our daily life would not look the same. With the government now introducing cuts and austerity policies, the economic situation of cleaners has weakened significantly.

JHL:n puheenjohtaja Håkan Ekström ja PAMin puheenjohtaja Annika Rönni-Sällinen.

– Many cleaners work part-time. Government’scuts in the adjusted daily allowance and housing allowance mean that a cleaner with a family earns hundreds of euros less than before. Who will clean in the future if you can’t make ends meet? Annika Rönni-Sällinen, president of Service Union United PAM, asks.

An increasing number of cleaning industry professionals have moved to Finland from somewhere else. For cleaners with an immigrant background, the government is planning unreasonable and inhumane conditions for a residence permit. If a cleaner becomes unemployed and does not find a new job within three months, the person has to leave Finland. 

– This entry in the government programme is cold and inhumane, and does not make the sector more attractive, quite the opposite. Austerity and sending people away will not solve the labour shortage in the industry, president of JHL Håkan Ekström says.

The best way to raise the prestige and attractiveness of the industry is to improve working conditions and wages. Cleaning as a profession is undergoing a transformation, and the use of new technologies requires special skills. Cleaners should also be rewarded for their skills and expertise.

– For example, the cleaning work done in hospitals, municipalities and welfare areas is crucial in terms of supply security, patient safety and seamless services. That’s why we need competent and committed workers, Ekström says.

In the future, employers should understand the income challenges facing cleaning professionals and offer them more full-time work so that they can earn a living wage with cleaning work, for example, in the capital region. Otherwise, there is a risk of cleaners leaving the industry.

– The focus is now on employers. They should enable full-time work. On the other hand, as a trade union, we should also consider models that give better compensation for part-time work than what is the case currently, Annika Rönni-Sällinen of PAM says.

On the International Justice Day for Cleaners, trade unions around the world want to draw attention to the position of cleaners. This is also what JHL and PAM are doing in Finland.

– We defend the working conditions and rights of cleaners together. The rights of cleaners contribute to a cleaner and safer environment, Ekström and Rönni-Sällinen remind.