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Ten city launch for community/union campaign

Clean Start – Fair Deal for Cleaners

Ten city launch for biggest community/union organising campaign in over 100 Years

Religious and community leaders will join hundreds of cleaners from across Australia and New Zealand tomorrow ( 20 April 2006) to help launch the Clean Start – Fair Deal for Cleaners campaign.

“Cleaners from some of our biggest and most lavish buildings will be backed by community supporters in ten cities: Adelaide, Auckland, Brisbane, Canberra, Darwin, Hobart, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney, and Wellington,” John Ryall, SFWU Nga Ringa Tota National Secretary, said today.

“Together we will urge building owners to make a principled decision to deliver better jobs - more secure and better paid - and show they recognise the contribution this hardworking, largely female immigrant workforce, makes to our economy and communities.

“This is the launch of the biggest community-union organising campaign in Australia and New Zealand since the 1890s” Backed by a wide group of community supporters the cleaners will pledge tomorrow to begin a campaign which proposes building owners, tenants and contractors adopt a new Ten-Point Principles for a Clean Start.

Hundreds of cleaners will join the rallies to express a determination to put an end to the second class nature of their jobs. They want the ability to earn a living wage from their work.

“We work hard and in return we want to turn our throwaway jobs into good jobs. We are sick of being ignored and invisible. It’s time the property industry stopped ignoring us – we are Australians and New Zealanders from every nation under the sun and we will fight to be heard.” said Rosa Faleniko, a cleaner from Wellington.

Jeff Lawrence said these property service workers will be joining a global fight for workers who clean and guard the world’s large office blocks.

Cleaners in the United States, the U.K., Poland, the Netherlands and Germany are all mobilizing and have pledged their support for each other.

Two unions in our region – the Service and Food Workers Union Nga Ringa Tota in New Zealand and the Liquor Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers Union (LHMU) in Australia – have deployed massive resources on this campaign.

A research team has been working for the last six months understanding the industry and the economics that drive it. The last month has seen the unions hiring large numbers of organisers and starting the process of giving the industry’s workers a voice in how they are treated.

In Australia these workers were set to be the first victims of Workchoices.

They stand to lose up to 30% of their income – despite the fact that they earn on average far less than a poverty line income. In New Zealand, these workers suffered huge falls in income when their labour market deregulated.

Since then their hourly rate has increased by just 80 cents in the last 10 years.

Tomorrow’s events are designed to put the business community on notice.

Profits will not be allowed to increase by exploiting these workers.

Instead, the workers will be appealing to the whole community of both countries to take a stand in their support.

Our countries have always aimed to provide jobs that pay a living wage. We need every section of the community to back us in our fight for respect and decency.

Rallies will be held in:

New Zealand: Auckland: 12-1:30pm, Methodist Mission, Queen St, Auckland CBD.

Wellington: 12-1:30pm, Loaves and Fishes Hall, Cnr. Molesworth St and Hill St.


Adelaide: Victoria Square - northern end by Town Hall 12.30pm:

Sydney : First Fleet Park, Circular Quay, 12 noon

Melbourne: St Francis Church, 326 Lonsdale St, 1- 2pm

Brisbane: St Mary’s Church, cnr Peel and Merivale St, Sth Brisbane, 2:30pm

Canberra: Griffin Centre, Genge St, Civic, 10 am

Darwin: Roma Bar, 12.30 pm

Hobart: ’50 & Better Club’ 108 Bathurst St, Hobart, 1.30 pm

Perth: Wesley Church Verandah, cnr Hay and William St, 12.30 pm

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