The industrial laundries sector should be included among the sectors with high energy and gas consumption in order to benefit from the aid announced by the European Commission, or essential business provided to European citizens will be seriously at risk, ETSA has urged.
The dire situation: ETSA, the European Textile Service Association, highlighted the severe impact that the current energy and inflation crises have had on the essential services provided by the textile services sector.
The overall picture: The textile services sector is vital to the infrastructure of essential industries, including the healthcare sector (such as hospitals) and hospitality.
- In the absence of rented textile services, the medical industry would be without sanitary mat surfaces and bed linens.
- There would be a lack of clothing for healthcare professionals, including protective sanitary gowns for surgeons, nurses and doctors, uniforms including other forms of personal protective equipment.
- Other essential services and professions such as construction, food services, energy and police also depend on textile services for uniforms and supplies.
- Even in industrial laundries for tourism, the situation is dire, and the risk is that many small and medium-sized enterprises will no longer be able to operate.
- In the Czech Republic, gas and energy companies have been sending letters to laundries indicating that they will have no choice but to drastically raise prices which would be a disaster for citizens. The response in aid has been lacking and insufficient in helping keep these laundries in business and the service sector adequately stocked with hygienic materials. These laundries have seen as much as a 450% increase in their cost of gas when compared to 2019 and 500% with respect to electricity compared to 2019. The vast majority (~80%) of nursing homes and hospitals are reliant on the supply of hygienically cleaned textiles from textile service companies, with 90% of these firms being SMEs. These small businesses will have an exceedingly difficult time surviving without proper support from the EU and national governing bodies.
- In Germany, the textile services sector employs more than 80,000 people in over 2,500 businesses, many of which are SMEs who serve as the bedrock for local communities, creating jobs and supporting families. Energy costs have risen exponentially. Without a sufficient state aid revision for energy-intensive industries by both the Federal Government and the European Union, hospitals and the service industry could go without life-saving supplies. Furthermore, laundries (especially SMEs) are unable to absorb the cost and will be forced to close their doors. About 80% of hospitals and nursing homes in Germany receive their sanitary and hygienically cleaned textiles from textile services companies.
- In Italy, the industrial laundry sector serves 800.000 healthcare workers, 220.000 hospital beds and ensures the implementation of 9 million surgical operations every year. The increase in energy and gas costs is seriously endangering the entire sector. In the absence of structural interventions in the cost of gas, hospitals have already been communicated about the risk of a reduction in the services.