Campaign against transgressional behaviour towards domestic cleaners

The organisation that monitors the welfare and working conditions of domestic cleaners that work for companies that accept so-called service cheques and the employers and trades unions that represent those that work in the sector have launched a campaign to combat transgressional behaviour towards domestic cleaners. Shana, a domestic cleaner from Alken in Limburg Province spoke to VRT Radio 1 about the transgressional behaviour she suffered at the hands of a customer a couple of years ago.

It started with "You look nice” or “you’re wearing something nice” but soon progressed to the customer whose house Shana cleaned visiting her Facebook page and commenting on her breasts and her weight. 

“This is something that doesn’t belong in a working relationship”. Shana told VRT Radio 1 that she didn’t know how to deal with it. “It is difficult because you are alone with the other person in their home. I am alone and he is alone so its my word against his”. 

The Director of the Diestenhuis, a company that employs domestic cleaners through the service cheque system, Karolien Vervecken, told VRT Radio 1 that “Customers are always in their home environment. In addition to this they are the cleaner’s foreperson as well. In many cases people that use domestic cleaning services are not aware that there are certain lines that shouldn’t be crosses”. 

"This is why it is very important to call it a communication problem. It is our role to define clear expectations from the outset regarding communication and behaviour towards each other”.

"From the moment that someone feels uncomfortable we actively seek solutions. For example, sending the cleaner to work for another customer. Afterwards we continue to monitor the situation”.

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