So, there’s this fairly big company I know. It has about 15 cleaners doing about 3 hours a day early in the morning. For which they are paid the minimum possible, the Living Wage. However, they are not paid directly by the company whose offices they are cleaning. Instead, the company pays a ‘cleaning company’, which in turn employs and pays the cleaners.
Obviously, the cleaning company doesn’t charge the main company just the cost of the wages and a few cleaning stores like mops and disinfectant. They charge a heck of a lot more.
The cleaning company makes a tidy profit from what it charges. Such a profit that the owner has a very nice car and lives in a huge house. A house that the cleaners will never know what it’s like to live in. His kids all go to private schools. Schools the cleaners could never send their kids to.
Let’s pretend that the cleaning company charges £5,000 a week. Let’s assume the wage bill is around £1,700 a week. So, we have a clear profit of £3,300 a week. This is going to the cleaning company in order to fund the owner’s car and house and holidays.
This cleaning company is clearly leeching on the backs of these cleaners who are having to survive on the minimum wage available.
If, instead, the poor cleaners were directly employed by the company whose offices they were cleaning, then a) that company could pay them more, whilst b) reducing their actual costs. By cutting out the ‘fat cat’ who doesn’t actually do any of the physical cleaning, they could, say, pay wages much higher than the Living Wage. Maybe their cleaning bill would reduce from £5,000 a week to, say, £2,500 a week. The cleaners would be earning £10 – £11 per hour.
Indeed, in real life I know of directly employed cleaners being paid around £9:50 an hour. So, it does and can happen.
So, with the ‘middle-man’ gone, there’s more for those actually doing the work. It’s a lot cheaper. It’s a lot fairer.
Although completely different, the leech of a cleaning company middle-man fat cat always reminds me of the European Union. The EU makes a profit out of charging the countries huge amounts for being members. It gives back so much less than it takes from those who have a bit of money to start with. A bit like a cleaning company charging more for the companies that appear to have more cash to spend on cleaning.
The huge cost of the European Union helps keep the wages low and costs high. Similar to the unnecessary middle-man cleaning company.
Yeah, the EU does give some back. But. When the EU does give back it says what the money must be spent on. A bit like a parent giving a kid a coin as long as they use it to buy a specific toy, sweetie or ice cream and buy it now. The kid will think the parent is lovely, wonderful and kind. They won’t initially see that they are controlling and overbearing.
However, once we grew up and sussed what was going on, that’s when we realised it was time to leave.
Provided that the cleaners do 16 hours per week, if they have 3 or 4 children, their earnings can be topped up to £20k to £25k (net) by Tax Credits, Child Benefit, Housing Benefit, Council Tax exemption, free dental care & prescriptions, free school dinners, school uniform allowance, furniture allowance, etc, etc. Therefore the fat cat middle man is also being subsidised by the tax payer to pay low wages while the cleaners bring home more than many net tax payers. This happens in care, too, where carers get paid the minimum and the fat cats charge local councils a fortune.
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