CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Street cleaners deserve the proper clothing at least

07 September, 2017

• SOMETIMES you have to go away from home for a bit before you see something staring you in the face that’s just not on.

I’ve just come back from a week in Liverpool where everybody talks to everybody, like it or not, so I was still feeling chatty.

I spotted one of the team of street cleaners I usually say hello to who have the thankless task of clean­ing up other people’s fun around Camden High Street. I asked him why was he wearing a woolly hat on a scorching summer day in August? Turns out not by choice.

He’d ordered a summer baseball cap at the start of the year, and it still isn’t here yet. He can’t take it off because he’s not 21 any more and he’d burn the top of his head. Same thing happened with his winter coat – it arrived in late spring of this year, after he’d been freezing through the winter in a summer jacket.

He seems philosophical about this state of affairs, but it strikes me as deeply unfair. It’s bad enough that they’ve increased the area they all have to cover, and cut the number of people covering the clean-up of central Camden, while the visitor numbers show no sign of abating.

Camden Council may not be directly responsible for our cleaner’s boiling hot head (Veolia are the contractors working with Camden Council), but can’t we find it in our hearts and pockets to swag our street cleaners up in the proper, weather-appropriate gear?

Something’s not right here and it’s easily fixed. It’s a situation. Let’s deal with it. Can Veolia at least let the cleaners wear their own coats/hats if it takes the bosses more than six months to come up with the right clothes for the job?

MICHELLE OLLEY
Inverness Street, NW1

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