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Labour exploitation in the cleaning sector

This course is designed for participants who attended a FLEX training workshop on labour abuse and exploitation in the cleaning sector in March 2022. It allows you to consolidate the knowledge which you gained in that session at your own pace. You can also go into more depth on particular topics of interest. For example, more detail on aspects of support for victims of modern slavery is covered in this course than was possible in the training workshop.

Many of the topics addressed in this course are relevant for other sectors of work besides cleaning, particularly the module that covers modern slavery identification and support.

Short quizzes can be found in the last lesson of each module, covering that entire module, so that you can test and consolidate your knowledge.

If you have any questions about the content of this course, don’t hesitate to contact FLEX’s Training Officer: [email protected].

This short video features two workers speaking about their experiences and introduces you to the concept of labour exploitation.

Understanding Labour Exploitation

The cleaning sector

This module introduces learners to key features of the commercial cleaning sector, including common business models and profile of workers. Learners will gain an understanding of the key features of outsourcing and how it is associated with risks of undermining workers’ rights in the cleaning sector.


An overview of the UK's cleaning sector

Employment rights issues in the cleaning sector

Research by FLEX and other organisations has shown that many cleaners are regularly denied basic employment rights, including rights to minimum wage for each hour worked, time off work, and protections against harassment. This module looks at some of those common issues and their corresponding rights.


Problems with pay and a worker's rights Feminised work: sexual harassment in cleaning Getting support with employment rights issues

Identifying and supporting victims of modern slavery

When labour exploitation amounts to human trafficking or forced labour, the worker is a victim of modern slavery. These lessons cover essential knowledge on how to spot the signs of a modern slavery, particularly in cleaning, and how to support a potential victim to access advice and support so that they can leave a situation of exploitation.


What is modern slavery? What are the signs of modern slavery in cleaning? Referring a potential victim for support: the National Referral Mechanism Support for victims of modern slavery Legal remedies for victims of modern slavery