The Sue Gray report detailed “unacceptable” incidents and revealed how one cleaner had to scrub red wine from a wall after a raucous Christmas party that violated Covid restrictions.
“I was made aware of multiple examples of a lack of respect and poor treatment of security and cleaning staff – this was unacceptable,” the report said.
Addressing parliament on Wednesday, the prime minister said rudeness towards staff was “absolutely inexcusable” and that “whoever was responsible” should apologise.
“Frankly, I have been appalled by some of the behaviour, particularly in the treatment of the security and the cleaning staff,” he told MPs.
“I would like to apologise to those members of staff, and I expect anyone who behaved in that way to apologise to them as well.”
The Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) said Mr Johnson should resign and had shown a “failure of leadership”.
One of the union’s members, who works in the Cabinet Office, said: “The prime minister’s apology is too little, too late. His empty words will be no consolation to the hard-working cleaners and security guards who have suffered under his leadership.”
Paul Chiy, founder of the Cleaners’ Union, called the behaviour detailed in the Gray report “despicable”.
“In the pandemic, cleaners were on the frontline all the time – the minimum they should expect is a ‘thank you’, people don’t ask for much,” he told The Independent.
“This is despicable but we’re not surprised that this is happening in a place like that, it’s happening in other places as well.”
Dr Chiy said cleaners were already “underpaid, overworked and underlooked”, adding: “They are not only left to clean up the dirt but are treated as such. This is unacceptable.”
The United Voices of World union, which represents cleaners and security guards who work in other government buildings, said it was “not in the least bit surprised”.
General secretary Petros Elia added: “These workers face disrespect on a daily basis in offices across London, not just in Downing Street.
“It is disrespectful to have rowdy parties during the pandemic and expect cleaners to mop up after you, but it is also disrespectful to pay cleaners, porters, security guards… poverty wages, not give them full sick pay or better pensions.
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“Most of the cleaners and security guards out there are ethnic minority workers, Black, brown and migrant people, who are disproportionately impacted by poor working conditions and racialised inequalities.”
Jim Melvin, chairman of the British Cleaning Council, said the parties came at a time when cleaning staff were “putting themselves at risk to maintain high standards of hygiene” and keep the public safe.
“It is absolutely appalling and upsetting to hear that they were being treated with such contempt by people who sit within government or the civil service and who frankly should know better,” he added.
“The prime minister himself thanked cleaning staff in parliament and now we are subjected to the contents of Sue Gray’s report.
”What cleaning staff need is support and recognition from the government, not to be treated with such arrogance or disrespect.”