chapter  7
23 Pages

CLEANER EMPLOYMENT IN CONTEMPORARY BRITAIN

In the course of our fieldwork we encountered two forms of employment of cleaners. The first was where one cleaner worked for one household. The second was multiple cleaning; where one cleaner worked for more than one household, usually two, but sometimes as many as three or four. In this respect, the cleaner form of waged domestic labour is more straightforward than the nanny. However, beyond this, private domestic cleaning is complicated by the total number of sessions per week which a cleaner performs for a household. No clear trends emerged with respect to the dominant form of cleaner employment, although it would be fair to say that working for one employer (either once a week or more than once a week) was more common than cleaning for more than one employer. But, given the small number of cleaners interviewed and the way in which cleaners move back and forth between single and multiple employer cleaning, we would not wish to be categorical about this. In this section we outline the two basic variants of cleaning work, as well as the day-to-day work activities of our respondents. We then move on to examine how the number of sessions performed per household per week mediates the nature of employment.