Cleaners had a major win in Canberra yesterday.
The Abbott Government has backed down from a 20% pay cut for cleaners and has retained the fair working conditions of the Commonwealth Cleaning Services Guidelines.
In the Senate this afternoon the Government agreed to an ALP amendment to the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability (Consequential and Transitional Provisions) Bill 2014 to retain the Guidelines.
The Guidelines protect cleaners from exploitation from shonky employers in the notorious contract cleaning industry.
David O’Byrne, Acting National Secretary of United Voice, the cleaning union, says “This is a huge victory for some of Australia’s hardest workers.
“This means Government cleaners’ base pay rate will not drop from $22.02 per hour to the poverty level of $17.49 per hour, and their current, fair working conditions will stay the same.
“We’re glad the Government has seen sense. The work of these low paid cleaners is absolutely essential, but all too often undervalued.
“Cleaners were appalled when the Government announced on its so-called Red Tape Repeal Day in March that the Commonwealth Cleaning Services Guidelines were included in the almost 10,000 regulations the Government was repealing because they were allegedly counter-productive.
“Far from being counter-productive, the Guidelines ensure companies that provide cleaning services for the Government must ensure their cleaners are properly paid and have decent working conditions. The Guidelines were established because of the well-documented shocking record of employers in this industry,” says David O’Byrne.
Commenting on the win, Government cleaner Chris Wagland from Canberra says “This is a win for the good guys. Just over a week ago we awarded Tony Abbott the 2014 Golden Toilet Brush Award. We were distressed and outraged by his Government’s heartless decision to dump these Guidelines.
“Today I am relieved and delighted. We need a Government that works for us, not against us,” says Chris Wagland.
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