Third of cleaners, janitors face discrimination, bullying
About a third of cleaners and janitors face discrimination and other unwanted behavior, like being ignored, bullied, and excluded, according to a study commissioned by employers' organization Schoonmakend Nederland and trade union FNV, NOS reports.
In 2019, confidants received only 33 reports of discrimination and other undesired behavior. But according to the researchers, not all cases are reported. According to confidants, managers, in particular, seem to discriminate. But cleaners also often face undesirable behavior from clients.
Renate Bos of FNV is not surprised that few incidents are reported. "Many different cultures work in small groups, in remote places, and at times when other people are not working. In addition, the distance between cleaners and employer is often large, partly because they change employers every few years due to the tenders," Bos said. "I speak to a lot of cleaners, so I know it's going on. But to see it in black-and-white, it's shocking."
Cleaners and janitors report feeling that they are somehow less than other people - "just" a cleaner. "For example, I heard the story of a company that didn't want anyone with a headscarf," said Bos. "Or a cleaning lady who was not allowed to eat her sandwich in the common room but was sent to the toilet to do so. Or that cleaners had to change in the bicycle basement."
"The percentage is too high and undesirable because you have to offer employees a safe workspace," said Rob Rommelse of Schoonmakend Nederland. "In addition to discrimination, it concerns all kinds of undesirable behavior: bullying, ignoring, and intimidation. We wanted to bring this to the fore so that we can counteract it."
"Discrimination and undesirable behavior are everywhere," Rommelse said to the broadcaster. "But you also have to dare to investigate and discuss it with each other so that you can counteract it in a targeted manner. That is why we provide information to employers."