[caption id="attachment_1065" align="alignnone" width="600"] Image credit to: Sander de Wilde[/caption]
Yesterday's referendum has voted for the UK to leave the EU. It was a monumental decision, and almost certainly a defining moment in Britain’s modern history. The leave campaign received the overall majority with 51.9% of the vote, against 48.1% for the remain campaign. There's no doubt leaving the UK will have its pros and cons and for the time being, the future remains uncertain but, it won't stop us exploring how it might affect the cleaning businesses for the UK and households in Britain.
There has been a lot of debate around the topic of immigration, with the leave campaign claiming immigration is out of control and remain that EU migration is good for both the economy and British businesses. But how would either outcome affect the cleaning industry?
According to statistics from the ONS, three in four migrants from Eastern Europe are filling low-skill jobs. In 2015, almost three quarters of the 872,000 Eastern European workers in Britain were in low-skilled jobs. That’s a large proportion of people that help prop up the British economy. The leave campaign’s argument is that EU migrants are taking these kind of jobs away from the British public. Under the assumption that British people want to and are even fighting against migrants over securing these jobs. But the truth is this is simply not the case. Our workforce is bolstered by EU migrants, that work very hard and to an equally as high standard. We simply can’t see how the important job roles within our organisation would be filled without them.
It all depends on the actions taken by our government after the vote, as a vote to leave doesn’t necessarily mean a change to EU migration. The government could decide that the UK should still participate in EU free movement as part of a new trade deal, which will most likely not impact EU migration. Whereas if the government adopt a new policy which treats EU migrant workers like how we currently treat non-EU migrant workers, we will most likely see a drop in low-skilled EU migration.
The Bank of England have warned that the pound’s value could drop dramatically following a Brexit. According to its latest monthly inflation report has dubbed a Brexit as the “most significant risk” to the UKs economy since the recession. Mark Carney estimates that “households could defer consumption and firms delay investment, lowering labour demands and causing unemployment to rise”. This is much like many of the outcomes from the 2008 global recession when property prices plummeted for the first time in over a decade, the value of the pound fell to a 28-year low and a string of austerity cuts were brought in which are still affecting us eight years later. If an exit does happen, we face lower labour demand, and luxuries like hiring a weekly cleaner will be slashed as people tighten their budgets.
Another point Vote Leave claim is hindering the growth of Britain is restrictive EU laws, vowing that the UK should govern its own lands and create its own laws. One segment of the remain campaign’s pledges is that a Brexit could see Britain withdrawing from the European convention on human rights, and replacing it with a British Bill of Rights.
There’s also changes to employment law that people are worried about. Dan Peyton, a partner at London law firm McGuireWoods says “it is unlikely we will implement a system of employment law that’s starkly different from what we have already”. Nodding to the need to retain commercial relationships with European countries as the reason for this. The EU are also responsible for putting in place the Working Time Regulations that limits the number of hours a person can work a week. With a vote to leave, our government will have the freedom to tinker with these rules.
David Cameron had warned a Brexit could endanger pensions, touting public finances could be under threat. All in all, with the cleaning business being a private sector niche, it will be most affected by how CEOs and business leaders in their organisations respond to new employment legislation. The CIPD advises business owners that there are too many uncertainties to account for until after the referendum, ensuring that all your employees who either work for you in other EU countries or come from them stay informed and updated of their rights. They stated the importance of not making any large changes to contracts until afterwards, as any new policy will be binding.