Cleaners at Calvary Hospital have reached a new pay agreement after an original offer of a 5-cent-an-hour increase was dismissed as “insulting”.
Under the new agreement, the cleaner’s hourly base rate will rise from $22.02 to $23.07 an hour. They have also won “significant” increases to penalty rates, according to the United Workers Union.
Almost 30 cleaners, 21 of whom joined the industrial action, will benefit from the increase, which comes to a total of just under $2,100 a year (without overtime) for full-time workers.
One cleaner lauded the support she had received from other staff in the hospital as they fought for better pay.
“When we walked out of the hospital and saw the flags, and saw the people waiting, people clapping for us, and giving us support, it was good. It was a sensation that we are not alone, asking for our rights,” Cibele Webbie said.
Originally, part-time workers were offered more than their full-time counterparts, Cibele said.
“I’m part-time. I’m not full-time. They asked me why was I still protesting if my part-time people would get more. I said: it’s everybody or no one.”
Some workers were initially reluctant to join the union’s action but were tipped over the edge when the “insulting” 5-cent offer came in, United Workers Union director of property services Lyndal Ryan said.
Two walk-offs and rolling bans were undertaken during the negotiation period between cleaning contractor Compass Medirest and the United Workers Union.
A third walk-off was being planned when the agreement was finalised.