Page 1417 - Week 05 - Tuesday, 9 May 2006

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Industrial relations

DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (6.04): I report on a meeting that I attended last Saturday, held by the Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Union, on their campaign for a fair deal for cleaners. Cleaners are one of those groups of people that we all tend to take for granted because a lot of their work is done after the office workers leave. We all expect the building to be clean when we turn up the next day. The low yearly wage that a cleaner can expect to take home interests and appals me. Something in the realm of $15,000 was quoted. The concern is that, under the WorkChoices legislation, that will not go up. Indeed, there is a chance that it will decrease. The campaign that is being run is based on talking to the owners of buildings and asking them to accept and adopt a number of principles, which they call principles for a clean start. The first three of these are:

The interests of tenants, owners, cleaning contractors and workers in the industry are not served by high turnover in security personnel and cleaning staff, poor levels of training and staff supervision, and unacceptably high levels of occupation illness and injury.

Satisfied tenants who occupy buildings which are secure and cleaned to a superior standard ensure that rental income is maximised, tenant churn is minimised, and investment in the physical fabric of the building is protected.

An appropriately high standard of cleaning and security services together with the creation of good jobs capable of providing a fair reward for the effort expended, can only occur where cleaning and security contracts are designed to permit these results.

There are a number of other principles. It is pleasing to know that ActewAGL, who of course is the owner of significant properties in the ACT, has agreed to the principles and that the owners of the airport have at least asked the union to talk to the contractors who clean there. There are a number of other building owners who have not even responded to the union’s letters asking to talk to them about the principles. I expect those will be named after a reasonable amount of time for their response has passed.

The campaign will involve monthly actions, starting this week with a sausage sizzle on Thursday in Woden, where the aim is to get the office workers to talk to the cleaners—two groups of workers who all have concerns about WorkChoices—to get them talking about their different concerns. There will be another action next week in Civic at the Optus building and so on.

The ACT government is also the owner of some buildings which are cleaned, including this one, and it is to be hoped that we also watch this campaign, support it and make sure that we are one of the groups of people who adopt the principles and certainly recommend to other building owners that they do so too.

Comments by Mr Corbell


MR MULCAHY (Molonglo) (6.08): I take this opportunity to place on record that I was

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