I attended a protest rally outside Parliament House yesterday along with about 250 other people. We were protesting at the latest assault on the low paid workers in Australia.
Under the guise of reining in expenditure, Eric Abetz and Joe Hockey have signalled that they are going to change the goal posts for wages earned by the cleaners in Parliament House.
He is going to rip up the service level agreement (SLA) with the cleaners in PH and make them all go to the industry standard. In other words he is going to the lowest common denominator not recognising the value of work by these people, many of whom work multiple jobs to support their families.
For those who don’t know, cleaners there earn $22.02 an hour, rising to $22.90 on July 1. Or that would have been the case if not for the Abbott government.
With the demise of the SLA, the hourly rate will fall to $18 an hour, roughly a 27% pay cut. Nice eh?
I remember being in the Army by day and cleaning other people’s toilets at night just to feed my family. That was in 1970. It shouldn’t be necessary today but it is. Why or why would anyone be so mean as to reduce the wages of these people. These people clean the toilets in Abetz’s and Hockey’s office. I bet if they had to do it themselves they would want more than $18 an hour to do it!
These practitioners of the art of miserablism should give some thought to the value of cleaners’ work and raise the pay of all cleaners to that of the Parliament House staff not reduce them to the low jump bar.
I’ll bet that Joe Hockey has not cleaned a toilet in his life. And I’ll wage a bet with anyone that he employs a house cleaner in his home in Hunter’s Hill. And I’ll bet he pays the going rate of about $45 an hour to have his home toilet cleaned but wants to pay only $18 an hour to clean his office toilet.
The gap widens through the practice of the art of miserablism!