Risk and Resistance Strategies in the Cleaning Industry

Salmon, Udeni (2021) Risk and Resistance Strategies in the Cleaning Industry. Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Equality and Diversity . ISSN 2396-8532

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Item Type:Article
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Abstract

The voices of migrant women in precarious and poorly paid work have been missing from recent debates on the impacts of the COVID-19. This article aims to redress this balance by exploring how migrant woman cleaner understands and balances risks relating to COVID-19. The cleaning sector has been characterised by the lack of PPE, the impossibility of physical distancing and pressure from employers to work in the absence of adequate social distancing norms. A series of in-depth interviews with a Sri Lankan cleaner sheds light on the strategies developed to counter risks to herself and to her family. The paper uses Cindi Katz’s (2004) theoretical insights on the spectrum of resistance available to powerless and marginalised people. The finding is that the cleaner deploys a reworking strategy, in which diasporic knowledge is used to protect her health. The result is that the pandemic is understood as an unexpected but manageable risk which does not interfere with her long-term life goals. This article provides an essential perspective from a low-paid worker: a presence which has been invisible in reporting and policy-making on the COVID0-19 pandemic.

Keywords:Migrant women, cleaning sector, PPE, COVID-19
Subjects:N Business and Administrative studies > N100 Business studies
N Business and Administrative studies > N620 Health and Safety Issues
Divisions:Eleanor Glanville Centre
ID Code:43685
Deposited On:14 Jan 2021 16:01

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