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What: Rally of Melbourne Airport Cleaners
Where: Melbourne Airport outside of Terminal 4 entrance
When: 2:00pm Thursday 15 June 2023
Who: UWU officials, Melbourne Airport cleaners and other aviation workers
Contact: Carolyn Smart: 0439 933 229


On International Justice Day for Cleaners, cleaners at Melbourne Airport will rally outside of the terminal to highlight the denigration, disrespect and abuse that takes place under the airport’s outsourced contractor IKON.

Cleaning staff, employed by IKON Services Australia, are campaigning for a fair enterprise agreement which would go some way to addressing many of the issues workers face on-the-job.

Workers have told their union, the United Workers Union (UWU), that their conditions are subpar and that they are subject to abuse from management, are forced to work unsafely and short-staffed, and regularly miss out on overtime payments.

Meanwhile Melbourne Airport, which has the trading name of Australia Pacific Airports Corporation, recorded a profit of $298 million last financial year.

UWU coordinator Damien Davie said cleaners and security guards have had enough of poverty wages when profits and executive remuneration continued to soar.

“It wasn’t the shareholders who turned up to keep the airport clean and secure at the height of COVID at risk to their family and community,” Mr Davie said.

“It certainly wasn’t the CEO, on their million-dollar plus remuneration and stock option package who got furloughed when COVID reduced the airport traffic.

“We consider what these workers do as essential but then have the gall to expect them to work unsafely, unsociable hours, doing back-breaking work for a little over 20 bucks-an-hour. Something has to give.”

UWU has been successful in its pursuit of beginning the bargaining process. After running a majority support determination petition, IKON finally agreed to bargaining, despite originally challenging the workers’ wishes in the Fair Work Commission.

The workers’ asks include a five percent increase above the minimum, drastic improvements to safety guidelines and protections, and for the company to pay for parking.

International Justice Day for Cleaners and Security is a global day of action where workers come together to demand better wages, safer workplaces, and union rights.


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