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Respect is a worldwide issue for contract cleaners

15 06 05

Respect is a worldwide issue for contract cleaners

As part of International Justice for Janitors Day, the Service and Food Workers Union Nga Ringa Tota (SFWU) is today launching a website campaign in support of cleaners in the British House of Commons.

The mainly immigrant workers who clean the House of Commons in London are earning poverty wages and a message is being delivered by workers around the world that cleaners are united and standing with the cleaners in London, who are holding their own demonstration outside the Houses of Parliament.

The SFWU campaign is part of a worldwide effort being co-ordinated by the Global Union for Cleaners, Union Network International, to highlight the situation of contract cleaners and bring cleaners together in new ways to hold multi-national property services companies accountable to the concerns of working people.

In New Zealand and around the western world, cleaning companies regularly employ immigrant workers on pay rates and conditions that fall below the standards workers in other industries expect and enjoy.

"SFWU members have been campaigning over the last few years for protection for contract cleaners in situations of contracting out or contract change, and we have seen some improvements with the changes to the Employment Relations Act last year" says Darien Fenton, SFWU National Secretary.

"However, the cleaning industry is still rife with low wages and sub-standard conditions for many workers and the SFWU is keen to see standards raised not only in New Zealand, but around the world."

"Immigrant workers often take jobs that local workers would least like to do but in election year, we are seeing attacks on these workers by politicians desperate to get their poll ratings up" says Ms Fenton.

"What people forget is New Zealand needs workers coming in to replace those leaving. Without the inflow of migrant workers the NZ economy would shrivel up. Its about time we supported these workers and demanded that employers show them the respect they deserve for helping us keep our little country going" Ms Fenton said.

Members of the public and unionists are asked to visit the SFWU website ( and send an email postcard to the British High Commission joining in the worldwide call for a living wage, decent holidays, sick pay and a pension for these workers.


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