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A new analysis of the dire situation facing Victorian school cleaners on a bungled contract changeover ahead of Christmas shows their pay is being cut by more than half in some cases.

The drastic cuts to salaries based on real-life situations facing cleaners shows why the cleaners’ union is taking legal action against the Victorian Government and staging a protest outside Deputy Premier Ben Carroll’s office today (EDS: Thursday).*

Among more than 700 Victorian school cleaners with years of experience, many have not been offered a job and many others face harsh cuts to their hours when their jobs resume next year.

“In a cost-of-living crisis no-one can cop a 60% cut to their wages,” United Workers Union Property Services Director Lyndal Ryan said today. “Yet some of the state’s lowest-paid workers are seeing their wages cut by half in this contract changeover that is being bungled by the Victorian Government.”

“Our members are devastated, scared and upset. They don’t know how they are going to have a Christmas because they are seeing their income crash over the break.”

Ms Ryan said the contract changeover highlighted issues cleaners will continue to face after the Victorian Government yesterday (EDS: Wednesday) rejected calls to end the privatisation of school cleaning.

“It’s shameful that a Labor Government has chosen to endorse the worst excesses of the Kennett regime and treat workers with contempt,” Ms Ryan said. “If tinkering with the Titanic as it drags workers under is the kind of legacy the Deputy Premier wants, he’s going the right way about it.”

Case study 1:

School cleaner Mick Lynch, who is currently working six hours a day on a level 2 cleaners’ salary with a leading hand allowance with outgoing contractor ISS, has only been offered 3 hours a week at level 1 with no allowance by incoming contractor Serco.

As a result Mick will see his weekly salary crash from $913 a week to $351 a week, a 62 per cent cut of more than $29,000 annually.

In contrast the Deputy Premier will continue to receive around $7400 a week throughout January.

Case study 2:

School cleaner Ines Lizama, who is currently working 7.6 hours a day on a level 2 cleaners’ salary with a leading hand allowance has seen her hours cut to four hours a day.

As a result Ines will see her weekly salary fall from $1000 a week to $539 a week, a 46 per cent cut of $24,000 annually.

Case study 3:

School cleaner Shellz, who is currently working 6 hours a day on a level 1 cleaners’ salary will see her hours cut to 3 hours a day.

As a result Shellz will see her weekly salary fall from $830 a week to $415 a week, a 50 per cent cut of $21,500 annually.

Ms Ryan said the issues facing cleaners included the conditions they will be forced to work under when they return to work – a terrible situation the Victorian Government has committed to continuing.

“They are not just worried about income, but also the workload they are coming back to, where they are expected to do the same amount of cleaning but in less than half the time in some cases,” Ms Ryan said.

“And a 5 per cent pay rise doesn’t make up for losing 60 per cent of your salary the year before.

“Politicians get paid the big bucks to sort out problems, but so far we have seen nothing from the Deputy Premier and Education Minister to meaningfully address this mess.

“Instead of going to sleep on his high-thread-count Egyptian cotton sheets over the break, Mr Carroll should address the issues facing these workers.”