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What: Rally of Victorian school cleaners
Where: Department of Education building 2 Treasury Place, East Melbourne, 3002
When: Wednesday 6 December at Midday
Who: UWU officials, and Victorian school cleaning members


Victorian school cleaners will rally outside the Department of Education in protest of the failed outsourced contracting model under which they are currently employed.

Cleaners are calling on the State Government to act and directly employ school cleaners following the latest bungle which has seen some cleaners with more than 25 years of service being made redundant after their employer, ISS, decided to not renew its contract which covered 250 schools.

The decision by contractor ISS, which covers around 700 cleaners, has seen school cleaners being made redundant, or having their wages and hours cut by incoming contractors Serco and Tradeflex.

The chaotic contract changeover ahead of the next school year is yet another demonstration of the shortfalls of a privatised system that has repeatedly failed school cleaners and the wider community.

The privatised cleaning system has been reviewed by the Victorian Government after it stood on a platform of creating secure jobs in Victoria.

Yet despite the completion of the review, workers are still saddled with a system where their jobs are only as safe as the next contract, and any wages, or conditions above the minimums that are secured can be disregarded by replacement contractors.

United Workers Union Property Services Co-ordinator Linda Revill said the only way workers could be properly protected from the current situation was a return to direct government employment of school cleaners.

“By allowing private contractors into public schools it does a disservice to the entire school community because ultimately those contractors are motviated by profit not service provision,” Ms Revill said.

“The system has been broken for a long time and the group that is being hurt the most are the school cleaners who keep our classrooms safe and hygienic, while being paid low wages and subject to some of the worst conditions. They deserve so much more.

“The Government needs to understand that it doesn’t matter which contractor it is, the issue around job insecurity will remain unless these workers are in-sourced.

“This is a broken system and we need the Government to act now before things inevitably get worse.”