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NSW Labor’s commitment to review the privatisation of NSW public school cleaning if elected is great news for students, teachers, school communities and cleaners, United Workers Union said today.

“The fact cleaners are being told to clean toilets in 17 seconds tells you the privatisation of NSW school cleaning has completely failed,” United Workers Union Property Services Co-ordinator Linda Revill said today.

“How would Dom Perrottet like it if he had to clean his toilet in 17 seconds?

“Cleaners face unsafe workloads every day, making NSW school cleaning one of the most dangerous professions in NSW.”

In the most recent large-scale survey of more than 400 NSW school cleaners, half said they did not have enough time to complete the necessary cleaning and a quarter said they had not been properly paid by private contractors.

“Any fair-minded review will find contracting out cleaning services has failed schools and failed cleaners,” Ms Revill said.

“It’s high time cleaners, who worked whenever was required during the pandemic, are treated with the respect they deserve.”

Brave school cleaners Judith and Milena have raised their personal circumstances where they have seen cleaners and hours cut in their schools, with remaining cleaners expected to pick up workloads.

  • Milena’s experience: 13 cleaners cut back to 5.5 cleaners.
  • Judith’s experience: 3 cleaners cut back to 2 cleaners.

United Workers Union has raised examples of work schedules that give one cleaner 10 minutes to clean a school’s 36 toilets – or about 17 seconds to clean a toilet.

“It’s not good enough the state is spending $1.75 billion on this five-year contract but cleaners have in some cases seen their numbers more than halve at their schools,” Ms Revill said.

“Schools aren’t being cleaned safely or properly, students, teachers and school communities suffer, and cleaners are barely scraping out a living.”

With wages of $22.76 for a full-time cleaner, cleaners are among the lowest-paid workers in NSW.



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