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Clean Sweep In Cleaners Pay Talks

Collective employment agreements covering thousands of cleaners in the private and public sectors have settled with pay rates moving by up to 50 cents an hour.

"This week union members ratified two new major collective agreements," says Service and Food Workers Union national bargaining co-ordinator Alastair Duncan.

"Commercial cleaners and school cleaners now have two new collective agreements that set new standards in the industry. The private sector agreements covers 29 separate employers and has the capacity to affect as many as ten thousand workers.

"This is the largest multi employer collective agreement (MECA) we have negotiated to date. Over the next twelve months commercial cleaners hourly rate will increase by 50 cents an hour and, for the first time the workforce can have some sense of job security.

"Employers will now have to try and relocate staff rather than just dumping them if the client changes contractor."

Alastair Duncan says the union will now focus its attention on those employers who remain outside the MECA.

"While we have reached agreement with a number of the major employers too many others continue to pay pitiful wages and to exploit their staff.

"The settlement opens the way for the union to focus on the cowboys and fly by night operators. For a decade they hid behind the tattered veil of the Employment Contracts Act paying minimum wages and treating their staff like dirt. We intend to expose them."

A second, public sector collective agreement covering 2500 cleaners and caretakers directly employed by primary and secondary schools also settled this week. That agreement saw service payments double as well as a 4% increase on hourly rates over a two year term.

For further information contact Alastair Duncan on 04 494 9962 (DDI)

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