October 12, 2012
The underpayment of almost $70,000 to 53 cleaners employed at Westfield Shopping complex in Sydney is just the tip of the iceberg of illegal and unfair practices in retail cleaning says United Voice, the cleaners’ union.
A Fair Work Ombudsman investigation uncovered underpayment of the minimum hourly rate, penalty rates for night, weekend and public holidays and non-payment of some allowances by the cleaners’ employer CleanDomain Pty Ltd. Some cleaners had not been paid in full for work performed for periods up to five weeks.
Mark Boyd, NSW Secretary of United Voice says “Given the illegal practices exposed by the Fair Work Ombudsman it is time for Westfield to take responsibility for its contracting practices.
“We believe improper and illegal practices at this shopping centre are far from isolated instances and are not limited to this cleaning contractor or this shopping centre.
“Information from our members indicates these practices are rife in other Westfield shopping centres and are symptomatic of an industry in crisis. That’s why cleaners have been calling for reform of the retail cleaning industry.
“Unfair workloads and low pay of cleaners employed at Westfield shopping centres have been raised first by cleaners themselves and then by the Social Justice Officer of the Uniting Church at the company’s last two AGMs. On both occasions the issue was brushed aside as being the responsibility of contractors.
“This is a disappointing and frankly inappropriate response to the cleaners whose hard work contributed directly to the $2.373 billion last reported profit of Westfield Group and Westfield Property Trust.
“United Voice and Westfield cleaners are ready to work with Westfield to clean up its contracting practices and ultimately to create better shopping centres.
“As the evidence mounts we urge Westfield to take the lead on what is ultimately a justice and equity issue and therefore a disincentive for ethical shareholder investment in their company,” says Mark Boyd.
Fair Work Ombudsman's news release Sydney cleaners paid back almost $70,000
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