The Cleaning Cooperative is a Social Enterprise which offers cleaning services of all kinds. At this point in time, the cooperative includes 10 members from the Menashe Regional Council area – Wadi Ara, and encourages many more women in general, and Arab women in particular, to join.
The cooperative is a business owned by the cleaning workers themselves. Its goal is to provide high quality cleaning services, while improving the working conditions and economic well being of its members, and to allow the clients to receive the cleaning services legally and fairly, while supporting corporate responsibility and avoiding violating the law.
Responsibility for Israeli Society – preventing the harsh exploitation in the cleaning industry
Employing services through contractors is an exploitative and problematic practice, which is characterized by a lack of employment stability and extremely low wages. Contract work is extremely popular in the cleaning and security branches, where the employees are mostly women from the most marginalized groups in society. In the cleaning industry there is a widespread phenomenon of contractors underpaying the workers and violating laws, preventing the women of their social benefits and rights, and manufacturing fictitious pay slips. Most of the women are unaware of their rights and are severely harmed by the exploitation – both in the immediate term (inability to mobilize out of poverty) and in the long term (total lack of retirement funds).
Arab women suffer unique and more harsh difficulties in integrating in the work market. Among the reasons for this are scarce employment opportunities in Arab villages which lack industrial and development zones, lacking transportation infrastructure which make it difficult to work outside their villages, language barriers and racial discrimination. This reality creates high level of unemployment, especially among Arab women, and those who happen to find work, are extremely exploited by employers.
Despite this harsh reality, most companies and businesses refrain from directly employing service employees, and prefer to use contractors, even when it is clear that the service they receive is lesser in quality, reliability and cost-effectiveness.
Responsibility for the Member in the Cooperative – Dignified wages and personal and group empowerment
The Cleaning Cooperative is a business offering cleaning services, that is owned by the workers and managed by them – this way we ensure that the employees receive fair wages and working conditions, and enjoy all the profits made by the cleaning jobs.
Since we eliminate the profits usually made by the contractor, all of the cooperative income (except minimal operational costs) are invested in the improvement of the workers’ well being – wages, increasing their social benefits and establishing long term savings for each employee for educational, health and family purposes.
One of the goals of the cooperative is empowerment of its members. The cooperative conducts periodic meetings for its members, in which they discuss different issues regarding the operations of the cooperative, receive business training, as well as independence and leadership tools.