Victorian school cleaners have taken action today to raise concerns about the level of cleaning being done in schools across the state since the government-funded ‘enhanced cleaning’ measures were removed.
School cleaners were previously provided extra work hours to ensure schools were kept COVID-safe, but this was not renewed for the new school term.
Speaking to parents and teachers at school drop-offs this morning, cleaners explained that without the enhanced cleaning measures they don’t have enough hours to maintain hygiene standards and they fear children are not safe at school.
The United Workers Union has heard from cleaners who are working unpaid overtime to carry out additional cleaning as their employers are unwilling to pay for the extra hours.
Quotes attributable to Sofia Floros, Victorian School Cleaner and United Workers Union Delegate:
“Proper hygiene cannot be a rushed process. If schools aren’t cleaned properly, including enhanced cleaning, there is still a risk of spreading the virus. This is not a safe working or learning environment.
“The government, cleaning companies and schools need to meet to discuss strategies and come to an agreement about the importance of maintaining safe and hygienic work environments for schools and cleaners. Cleaners are people with families too. Our work environment needs to be safe.”
Quotes attributable to Lyndal Ryan, United Workers Union Property Services Director:
“School cleaners are essential workers who have kept schools open through the COVID pandemic. They put themselves at risk every day to keep students, teachers and parents safe. The State Government needs to take responsibility for the work conditions of school cleaners in Victoria and stop the blame game that’s happening between the government and employers.”
“United Workers Union members have launched the Clean Start, Better Start campaign in Victoria today which provides a set of standards to ensure cleaners have safe workplaces, secure jobs and liveable wages.”
Full details of the Clean Start, Better Start campaign demands here: unitedworkers.org.au/clean-start-better-start/
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