26 April 2006 | Anusha Bradley
Banks, financial services and legal firms should procure cleaning services ethically, ensuring cleaners are paid a "decent living wage", according to the Transport and General Workers' Union (T&G).
The T&G has urged the sector to follow in the footsteps of Barclays Bank, which this week negotiated new contracts with its cleaning suppliers, which guarantee its cleaners are paid at least £6.05 an hour - £1 above the minimum wage. The deal applies to all 2,400 cleaners.
A T&G spokesman told supplymanagement.com
: "There is no reason why these companies cannot pay a decent living wage. These firms talk in terms of billions of pounds worth of profit. For them the extra cost is just a drop in the ocean."
Jon Couret, head of facilities management at Barclays Sourcing - the procurement arm of Barclays Bank - said in a statement that although it had a contract directly with its cleaning suppliers, the bank recognised it was ultimately responsible for improving cleaners' standards of living.
A Barclays spokesman said it also "makes business sense" to pay its cleaners more. He said: "Cleaners who are rewarded fairly will do a better job and it helps us hold on to good cleaners."