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Fair Deal for Cleaners campaign

MEDIA RELEASE 21 04 06

Cleaners from Perth to Auckland, Darwin to Hobart, and six major cities in-between, are celebrating the successful launch of the CleanStart: Fair Deal for Cleaners campaign in Australia and New Zealand. Nearly 2000 cleaners and their supporters joined in an extraordinary ten-city launch of an Australia/New Zealand campaign for low-waged cleaners.

Campaign will help Pacific Islanders in New Zealand

In New Zealand Api Ielemia, a Pacific Islander cleaner, living in Auckland, told the Clean Start launch rally: "Today is a big day for me and my community. I'm involved in the Clean Start campaign for the benefit of my family and my community. " I know it will make a difference - today has shown that we can get support for cleaners and their communities - around New Zealand and around the world." In Melbourne, Rhonda Galbally, AO, told more than 200 people attending an enthusiastic launch of the Clean Start campaign : " I think we can clean up the cleaning industry in Australia by looking after the people who clean Australia."

Clean Start campaign will end the idea that cleaners are invisible

" The Clean Start campaign will end the idea that cleaners are the invisible workers, hidden in the dark shadows of the city skylines, whose plight can be ignored," John Ryall, SFWU Nga Ringa Tota National Secretary, said. " Our voices will be loud. Our rallies will grow bigger and bigger. We won't be invisible any more," John Ryall said.

Kick-off of a historic campaign

" We have kicked off a historic campaign today to lift up cleaners and our families . The Clean Start campaign gives us the hope that we can achieve our dreams of active and equal participation in the New Zealand community." The Clean Start campaign will emphasise the need for the owners of high rise towers to adopt a more ethical and responsible stance when they put out a tender for contract cleaning.

Talk to the big players first

" We want to talk to all the big players in this important industry - we want to talk about how we can work together to improve this industry for all. " When we know their attitude to our ideas; when we have a clear picture of how they are responding to these ideas we may adopt a more aggressive name and shame strategy ," John Ryall said.

Global players can't wash their hands of responsibility

" They cannot wash their hands of their responsibility for moral and ethical workplace standards by outsourcing these jobs," John Ryall said.

" Once upon a time cleaners worked in office blocks for contractors who lived in their own city. Increasingly today cleaners work in office blocks owned by multinationals who tender out their contract cleaning to other multinationals," John Ryall said.

" Just as the owners and employers have gone global we too have to be more strategic and think globally. This joint Australia and New Zealand campaign, we hope, is the start of something even bigger."

ENDS

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