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Historic Property Services Agreement Signed

28 March 2008

Media Release
Issued by the Service and Food Workers Union, Property Council New Zealand and the Building Service Contractors of New Zealand

(Embargoed to 3.15pm Friday 28 March)

Historic Property Services Agreement Signed

The Service and Food Workers Union, Property Council New Zealand, the Building Service Contractors of New Zealand and the New Zealand Government today signed an historic agreement. The parties have all committed to work together to provide an improved, quality focussed cleaning and property services industry.

The agreement was initiated by the Union as part of the Trans-Tasman Clean Start campaign, which was aimed at dramatically improving cleaners’ jobs and pay rates. The Principles document was developed and agreed between the parties and recognises the mutual economic and social benefits of having valuable properties cleaned and serviced by a workforce that is fairly recognised for the work that they do.

The “Principles for a Sustainable Property Services Industry” includes some key points that will drive the way forward. These 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.

The Minister of Labour, Trevor Mallard, hosted the signing ceremony at Parliament, which was attended by about 120 guests.

They included:

- Representatives of some of the largest commercial property owners in New Zealand;

- Property Council New Zealand President Connal Townsend;

- Building Service Contractors of NZ President Brian Young;

- Representatives from all cleaning contracting companies;

- Many union cleaners;

- Representation from the NZ Council of Trade Unions ;

- Representation from Business NZ;

- Members of Parliament ;

- Church and community leaders.

Building Services Contractors Association President Brian Young acknowledged the role that the Minister had played in bringing the parties together. He told the gathering that the contractors recognise the value of their staff and the challenge was now to work with all stakeholders to ensure that the Principles document achieved its goal of building a sustainable industry for clients, workers and for the contractors.

Mr Young added that it is only with the commitment of Property Council New Zealand and the Government, as the largest property owners and tenants, that this can be achieved.

National Secretary of the Service and Food Workers Union, John Ryall, said that the commitment of all industry stakeholders to agree to work together to develop better standards and a sustainable workforce was unprecedented in the Property Services Sector worldwide.

Mr Ryall said that while there was a lot of work to do to develop the Principles Agreement into an action plan, the thousands of cleaners employed in the sector were pleased with the commitments that had been given.

Connal Townsend, Chief Executive of Property Council New Zealand, said the need to maintain superior cleaning standards while protecting the health and safety of workers within commercial buildings is a top priority.

“Property Council New Zealand is totally committed to creating an urban environment that works for everyone, including building owners, investors, tenants and workers. We are pleased to have been part of a constructive and conciliatory process, which has led to agreement on a set of principles for cleaning commercial buildings.

“The agreed principles will encourage best practice in the workplace, while ensuring that property owners are not caught in the cross-fire of a dispute between cleaning contractors and the cleaner’s union,” Mr Townsend said.


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