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WHEN: 11:30 am Friday 29 October 2021

WHERE: At the fountain on Bunda Street, Canberra Centre

WHAT: On day one out of lockdown cleaners hold a public demonstration at the Canberra Centre in response to significantly altered conditions and atrocious treatment under new contractor Assetlink. CEO Damien Frawley of Queensland Investment Corporation (QIC) has refused to meet with workers, so workers are making their demands known to Canberra Centre’s patrons.

WHO: Cleaner Leo Barajas and United Workers Union Property Services Director Lyndal Ryan will be available for comment.

Quotes attributable to Leo Barajas, Canberra Centre Cleaner:

“We have been run over by Assetlink, all our opinions, suggestions and requests have been thrown into the bin. Significant hours were cut, forcing everyone to work the undoable, and for the night shift the drastic change in rostered hours means we’re always too tired for our families and our personal lives. To this day Assetlink has not even been willing to explain to us the reasons behind their changes. All we are asking is to have proper conditions to do our jobs, we are asking Assetlink to treat us with respect, not merely as an employee number. We’re going public so we can be heard.”

Canberra Centre’s new contractor Assetlink has:

  • Cut cleaning hours by approximately 20 per cent.
  • Pushed night shift finishing times back from 1 am to 6 am.
  • Refused to provide documents under workplace health and safety laws.
  • Introduced new duty schedules not compliant with the enterprise bargaining agreement.
  • Failed to resolve the safety problem of lights turning off regularly during the night shift.
  • Reduced the number of security officers on site.
  • Directed workers to not take breaks in the food court, instead to take them in a designated break room a further 10 minutes away.

Quotes attributable to Lyndal Ryan, United Workers Union Property Services Director:

“These cleaners kept the Canberra Centre clean and safe, both before and now during a global pandemic. Many of these cleaners have worked there for years, but have now been made casual, lost hours, and are receiving disrespectful treatment under their new contractor Assetlink. Since September 18 workers have been waiting for CEO Damien Frawley to meet with them but he has refused. Today cleaners make their plea public to Canberra Centre customers.”

The Canberra Centre is one of many malls in the portfolio of QIC, which manages around $90 billion in funds as well as property and infrastructure assets abroad. QIC’s contract with Assetlink started on September 21, 2021.

ENDS Media Contact: 1300 898 633, [email protected]