15 June 2021

Clean up your own house: UWU calls on government to offer Assembly cleaners secure work

| Dominic Giannini
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Lyndal Ryan

Lyndal Ryan was instrumental in securing a pay rise for cleaners at Calvary Hospital at the end of last year. Photo: Dominic Giannini.

The United Workers Union has called on the ACT Government to offer secure work to cleaners in the ACT Legislative Assembly instead of contracts through cleaning companies.

On International Cleaners’ Day (15 June), UWU director of property services Lyndal Ryan said the government should extend offers to Assembly cleaners after doing the same for school cleaners last year.

“Last year, the ACT Government insourced school cleaners ending decades of insecure work,” Ms Ryan said.

“This decision proved to be an important measure in managing the pandemic.

“Rather than having to rely on contract cleaning companies, the government was able to upskill, increase in number, redeploy and directly manage their own workforce in order to keep our school communities safe.”

Ms Ryan was one of the UWU staff that lead Calvary Hospital cleaners on strike last November after cleaning contractor Compass Medirest offered a 5-cent pay increase that was dismissed as “insulting”.

Two walk-offs and rolling bans were undertaken during the negotiation period.

“Since its re-election, the Government has committed to reviewing all contracted services to create safe and secure work across the whole ACT Government,” Ms Ryan said.

“There is no better place to start than right where our Assembly sits.

“The cleaners who mop the floors, vacuum the carpet, dust surfaces including those which might harbour coronavirus and clean the toilets of ACT political leaders deserve secure work.”

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The ACT Government signed a $440,000, two-year contract with Dimeo Cleaning Services in 2019 for cleaning services at the Assembly.

The contract is due to expire on 1 September this year.

The contract allows the government to extend the agreement twice, for a period of two years each. The maximum term of the contract cannot exceed six years, which would take it to 2025 if the government opts for both extensions.

In response to the UWU, the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly, Tom Duncan, said the request is under consideration.

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