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The United Workers Union has welcomed the Australian Capital Territory Labor government’s addition to procurement policy, which will ensure better scrutiny of government contracts.

UWU, which represents workers that are indirectly employed by the ACT Government through various cleaning and security sub-contractors, has worked with the government to help galvanise the Secure Local Jobs Code following a review which took place last year.

Essentially this additional process will ensure that only suppliers that are truly committed to workers’ safety and rights will be awarded Government contracts worth more than $200,000.

UWU property service director Lyndal Ryan said she commended the government for implementing this evaluation process which will provide extra job security for Canberra workers.

“These changes build on the previous work of government in this area. United Workers Union would like to see more cleaners and security officers directly employed by Government. Just as occurred when the government insourced school cleaning. The next best thing is to see governments using their purchasing power to deliver decent private sector jobs.” Ms Ryan said.

“The Ethical Treatment of Workers assessment will result in secure jobs and good outcomes for workers and will hopefully prevent things like what we saw at Canberra Centre, where the lives of cleaners at the shopping centre were thrown into disarray following a contract change.

“The cleaners and the security guards that kept the government running while many could work from home during the various COVID scares deserve more than a pat on the back for their efforts in keeping us safe and secure and this policy goes some way to doing this.

“Preventing bad employers from being awarded government contracts will promote best practice, which will provide good, secure jobs for some of Canberra’s hardest workers.”

Sonam Yangki, a cleaner in one of the ACT Buildings covered by the Secure Local Jobs Code said, “job security is very important to me and all my friends at work. Every day and night we work hard to make sure everything is properly cleaned and safe.”

“It’s good to know that the ACT government has listened to our union and has this taken action to ensure that the contract companies that employ us respect our rights.”

To find out more about procurement policy, click here.


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