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NSW school cleaners have stepped up demands that the NSW Government address impossible workloads and dangerous workplaces as they return for the new school year.

In powerful video statements released today NSW school cleaners ask the NSW Government to address their horrifying working conditions, lift their pay and end the failed privatisation of school cleaning.

One of the cleaners, Pooja, says: “Please, help us.”

The workers’ union, United Workers Union, has also released a damning report exposing more than $100 million in estimated profits paid to private contractors under the current contracts entered into by the former government.

The report, to be submitted to a NSW Government review of the privatised cleaning contracts, shows investors in large multinational companies benefiting while NSW cleaners face one of the most dangerous occupations in the state.

The video messages and the report have been released as the school year starts to mark the 30th year of privatisation of the NSW cleaning contracts.

In one of the video statements, Pooja, a single mum who cleans a whole school by herself, says:

“I would like to tell the Government to reduce the pressure because we are bound only for two minutes in a classroom which is not enough, and after that they come and fail the school and we are in trouble again.”

In another video statement, school cleaner Ferdie, says:

“We have three cleaners at school now. When I first started some 33 years ago we had eight cleaners. In fact we had less infrastructure then and eight cleaners to do the work. You have really got to look at these contractors. It’s just not working.”

In a recent survey of 300 cleaners, more than one third of cleaners reported they had been injured at work, almost half said they had seen cleaning hours cut at their schools, and 34 per cent reported they had suffered bullying and harassment.

“The review, which we’re pleased to be a member of, is the right first step towards fixing a broken system. We need an outcome that addresses the issues facing schools, parents and cleaners,” United Workers Union Property Services Co-ordinator Linda Revill said today.

“These cleaners are facing impossible workloads from private contractors imposing a stop-watch mentality that sees them expected to complete more than 600 tasks in a day.

“The fact many are being paid $24.07 an hour – way below what other states pay their school cleaners – makes a bad situation even worse.

“The NSW Government has the opportunity to end this failed privatisation and create thousands of quality, safe and secure jobs for cleaners who are working hard in every corner of the state.”



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