‘Massive inflationary pressures’ as costs and shortages hit commercial laundries
The commercial laundries serving the hospitality and leisure industries have been looking forward to the bounce back, following lockdowns that saw them suffer more than many sectors due to government indifference. But now they are warning that cost increases and labour shortages are crippling the recovery, and that they are being forced into increasing their prices.
“There are massive inflationary pressures bearing down on our industry,” says David Stevens, CEO of the Textile Services Association (TSA), which represents commercial laundries in the UK. “Commercial laundries are already on their knees, having had virtually no government help through lockdowns, despite seeing volumes drop by up to 80%.
“Now they’re being hit by price increases they can’t absorb – they simply don’t have the resources.”
The cost increases faced by laundries cover just about every area of operation and amount to double digit inflation. Labour shortages have led to wages going up by between 10% and 25%. Chemical costs are up 15%. Many laundries also supply textiles services such as linen hire to the hospitality industry. Here the prices are skyrocketing, with sheeting and bedding up by 55% and container freight costs by 300%.
In response to the acute labour shortage the TSA is lobbying government to allow greater access to overseas workers and has requested further classifications of workers to be added to the shortage occupations list. Despite support from the CBI and UKHospitality, Stevens is not hopeful. “Don’t hold your breath,” he says. “The government’s Brexit agenda means that, at least in the short term, it’s highly unlikely that we will get access to the European labour market.”
As if labour shortages weren’t enough, the pingdemic has decimated the laundry workforce, putting even more pressure on the sector.
UKHospitality is aware of the situation, saying that 94% of hospitality businesses are already experiencing difficulties with the supply chain, through shortages, delays and inflation. For the hotels, restaurants and health clubs that rely on commercial laundries, price increases seem inevitable. The TSA has published an information bulletin to inform end users of the likely impact. It’s available to download for free from tsa-uk.org/laundry-cost-index.
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