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NSW school cleaners outraged by inappropriate coronavirus request to clean for Diamond Princess crew in Japan


United Workers Union is extremely concerned that NSW school cleaners employed by services giant Broadspectrum have been approached by supervisors via site visits and text messages requesting they go to Japan to clean. The approach has caused confusion with many members being told that it would be to clean ‘the coronavirus ship’ but with Broadspectrum now stating to the media that it is to clean a quarantine station for Diamond Princess crew.

Text messages sent to school cleaners said: A really great opportunity has arrived. Would you like to earn some good money … all you need is a valid passport to go to Japan and clean for 6 days.

Broadspectrum supervisors have not been able to inform school cleaners about the safety measures that will be put in place, if they would receive specialist training or equipment, where they would stay, how much they would be paid, what would happen with quarantine (both with Federal Government and NSW Department of Education requirements) and what it would mean for their school community.

A school cleaner has told the union, “I was told at work that all supervisors were sent an email asking around if cleaners wanted to go to Japan to clean a ship and the supervisor named the Diamond Princess.

“I said, are you serious? What compensation do you get if you die?

“I can’t believe that the company is putting our cleaners at risk. This is a virus that can kill people.”

United Workers Union has texted all Broadspectrum members with the message: United Workers Union would not recommend accepting this offer. This is specialised cleaning, requiring extra training and equipment. We also don’t know what the health and safety rules are in Japan so would be concerned that appropriate steps are not being taken to protect workers.

Lyndal Ryan, United Workers Union director of property services says, “Broadspectrum sees their cleaners as disposable. The information provided is unbelievably scanty for the huge expectation that some of their workforce will put up their hands for one of the most perilous cleaning jobs in the world at the moment.

“We are very concerned with this targeting of our members employed in schools. Our members have specific skills and knowledge in cleaning the state’s education facilities, not in cleaning during an extreme public health crisis in another country. We are also concerned that Broadspectrum are not across the current upgraded Australian Government warnings on travel to Japan.

“Broadspectrum have consistently shown disrespect to the cleaners employed in the schools they are contracted to clean in NSW since winning one of the state’s four school contracts two years ago. Broadspectrum are telling their staff that this is “a great opportunity … to earn some good money” which is exactly how they see the delivery of services – just a chance to make money. It’s disrespectful to cleaners and it’s disrespectful to those who’ve been impacted by the virus.

“We have advised our members to not accept this offer. To put their health in danger and then risk being away from the workplace and their families for several weeks due to quarantine is not worth the few extra bucks Broadspectrum might plan to throw their way.”



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