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Government decision could hit cleaners’ wages, says BSC

Government decision could hit cleaners’ wages, says BSC

Government decision could hit cleaners’ wages, says BSC The Government’s decision to withdraw endorsement of the Principles of the Property Services Industry Agreement could lead to lower wages for some cleaning workers, says Building Service Contractors New Zealand (BSC).

Labour Minister Simon Bridges has announced that suppliers of cleaning services will no longer be required to be members of BSC, the industry body for the cleaning industry, to contract to clean Government facilities.

BSC President Patrick Lee-Lo said: “Currently most companies contracted to clean Government buildings are BSC members who all pay their staff an agreed amount above the minimum wage. This is set annually through our MECA negotiations. “This decision leaves the doors open for those who pay their staff the minimum wage to put forward cheaper tenders for Government work.

“However, while this is disappointing, our experience is that building managers are aware that the best value is achieved by contracting with cleaning companies whose staff are well trained and managed and enjoy a fair wage and conditions.

“All BSC members are required to adhere to the highest standards of health and safety, quality, sustainability, compliance and service delivery.” The BSC does not agree with the Minister’s statement that “few, if any, benefits” have been achieved for workers through the Principles Agreement.

Mr Lee-Lo said: “Since 2008 staff working on cleaning contracts for Government buildings all over New Zealand had been assured of fair pay, fair working conditions and reasonable hours. That has been of significant benefit to cleaners.

“BSC strives constantly to lift industry standards across the board. The essential service the cleaning industry provides to Kiwi communities 24/7 often flies beneath the radar. “We have just held our inaugural Clean Sweep Awards which not only promote excellence and innovation but recognise that huge contribution. New Zealand could not operate without cleaners – and cleaners need fair pay and work conditions to do their jobs well.”

The Principles Agreement was hailed as an historic agreement when it was signed in 2008 by the Service and Food Workers Union (SFWU), Property Council New Zealand, BSC and the then Government.

It was developed and agreed between the parties to recognise the mutual economic and social benefits of having valuable properties cleaned and serviced by a workforce that is fairly recognised for the work they do.

Its principles include:

• Clients receive and pay for good service

• Reputable service providers bid and win work based on fair contracting principles and reasonable reward

• Cleaners enjoy good jobs with sufficient hours, fair pay, reasonable work rates and safe conditions. ENDS

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