Determined laundries are urgently calling for assist

United Kingdom
Overloaded laundries are asked to increase further, while 75% of the industry is shut down. The laundry industry is in desperate need. 75% of them are on their knees because their work has dried up. That is the 75% who used to look after the hospitality, sports, leisure and similar markets. The other 25% are also on their knees – not because of a lack of work, but because they are working at full speed and demand is constantly growing. That is the part that takes care of the NHS and other key industries.

"Both parts of our industry are desperate," said David Stevens, CEO of the Textile Services Association (TSA). “On the one hand, the thousands of laundries that look after hospitality and similar markets have literally seen their work go to zero. However, since they are not considered part of the hotel industry, they cannot get the support they need to get through the crisis.

"In the meantime, laundries working for the NHS and other key services such as food manufacturers, pharmaceutical manufacturers and laboratories are asked to expand their business."

Rona Tait, pictured below right, owns TDS Commercial Ltd, an independent laundry in London that employs 25 people.

Its custOmer are all hospitality and sports organizations. It has been running successfully for 14 years. "100% of our customers stopped trading within a week," says Rona. “It was a difficult decision for us to close. Laundries are used to carrying on regardless of the obstacles. Stopping work and simply locking it up is very unnatural and painful. "

Meanwhile, Brian Mullaney is General Manager of the Elis laundry in Dartford, which has been contracted to provide services for the Nightingale Hospital. “Thanks to our own supply chain and our own warehouse, we were able to respond to the challenging swelling underwear within 48 hours of the call,” he says.

“We are currently dealing with a massive increase in our customers' demand. While the amount of flat linen to be cleaned has actually decreased as hospitals are reusing the stations to prepare for the predicted maximum, we have seen a significant increase in peeling suit consumption over a three-week period of around 45% to more than 90,000 per week. "

However, the Elis team in Dartford still has to prepare. “At full capacity, NHS Nightingale has up to 3,500 beds, up to 5000 peeling suit users per shift, at least one bed change per day and two shift peeling suits per day. That's about 50,000 pieces at no additional cost, and it will be a seven-day service.

"Of course, the employees here are concerned about dealing with infected laundry," he adds. “However, we are an EN 14065 accredited laundry with the latest industry leading hygiene standards and we follow the PHE guidelines closely. We have also stepped up measures within the plant to ensure social distancing. "

At TDS, where all employees are on leave, it's a very different story. Tait says: "I am in touch with them two or three times a week and try to alleviate their fears. I do my best to calm them down, but I need funding to continue supporting the company during this time. I applied for the £ 25,000 grant through the Hounslow Council but do not believe that TDS is considered a hotel company. I briefly spoke to my commercial bank manager about the business interruption loan program. I am not sure if the bank no personal guarantees required. "

What makes it worse is the seasonal aspect of their work. “For our industry, this season is the time when workload should increase in the summer season. January and February are months when we may hit breakeven.

"I really don't know if we can survive. We are a very strong company with a great team and customers who really appreciate our service. If I can get the grant and a loan we should be fine. But neither sees it very promising. "

The textile services industry is estimated to contribute a total of £ 1.3 billion to the UK economy’s gross value added (gross value added) and to support around 28,000 full-time jobs (Hatch Regeneris, Research Draft, 2020).

"Laundry workers do a tough job and don't get the recognition they deserve," says David Stevens. "We are a Cinderella industry. Most people forget that so much business depends on us.

“Laundries that supply the NHS will almost certainly need help to get over the peak of the crisis. If the government does not support the laundries that serve the hotel industry, restaurants, hotels and leisure centers will either not work after the recovery or they will face almost insurmountable hygiene and cleaning problems. "

The TSA is the professional association of the textile care services industry. The TSA represents commercial laundry and textile rental companies. Membership ranges from family-run companies to large multinational companies. Visit www.tsa-uk.org for more information.

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