The Federal Government is heading the move for a better deal for employees of cleaning contractors.
Workplace Relations minister Julia Gillard announced recently that the government was joining the Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers Union’s (LHMU) Clean Start Campaign, which provides additional protection to workers cleaning office buildings in defined CBD areas of capital cities.
Ms Gillard said too many cleaners were “not properly paid, they’re not properly trained, they’re the subject of victimisation and discrimination, and there are many reputable employers who treat their own staff well who have inadvertently entered into a cleaning contract with a cleaning company that treats its workers badly.”
She said the purpose of Clean Start was to bring the problems of the cleaning industry to the attention of employers, and “they can use the power of their purchasing dollar to make a difference to it, and obviously the Australian Government wants to use the power of our purchasing dollar to make a difference.”
She said the Federal Government has a large number of office buildings that need cleaning, “and when we contract with the companies that clean those buildings, we will be part of the Clean Start campaign, to make sure that the people who come and do that cleaning are treated well.”
Under new rules, suppliers to the Federal Government will be deemed to have breached their supply contracts if they fail to comply with the Fair Work Act as a ‘condition for participation’ in Federal Government procurement.
President of the Building Service Contractors Association (BSCAA), Rodney Barnes said, “This sends a clear message to the industry about the government’s intention to spend its cleaning budgets with reputable contractors and can only increase the professionalism of contractors who tender for Government work”.