The first TSA National Congress got under way at The Hyatt Regency in Birmingham city centre last month with chair Charlie Betteridge addressing a deliberately smaller audience than was seen at the Spring and Autumn conferences. The National Congress was a new event for this year, and in no way serves as a replacement for the annual TSA National Conference.

More than 70 delegates including CEOs, senior managers, owners and ‘TSA platinum’ suppliers were there to catch up on the latest TSA achievements and plans for 2020 and beyond.

Betteridge referenced the work of previous TSA CEOs and paid homage to Murray Simpson, who passed away tragically almost five years to the day of the congress, saying that the Climate Change Agreement was his very important legacy. “Today we are are lucky to have David Stevens as our CEO. We needed somebody who knows the industry. There is a good vibe about the TSA going forward.”

However, he is realistic about what needs to be addressed. “Consolidation of the industry means with buyouts, decisions are not made in UK but in Salt Lake City, Paris and elsewhere. The industry has changed. We all know what a good job we do…but do others outside the industry? ‘What the hell is a textile service company?’, people ask. ‘It’s a laundry’. And you can see their eyes glazing over. Washing somebody else’s dirty linen not a sexy occupation and that is a big problem getting people to work for us. When youngsters go to the Job Centre and they are offered a choice between a factory and a laundry, they will go for the factory every time.  We need to engage young people, schools and so on, and encourage them to visit laundries.”

  • Read Kathy Bowry’s full report from the TSA National Congress in the December 2019 issue of LCN