After refusing to meet with cleaners and discuss the school cleaning crisis for the past year, Premier Dominic Perrottet and the New South Wales Liberal Government have failed to allocate additional funding to the industry.
United Workers Union, the union representing school cleaners in New South Wales, has contacted the Premier’s office on multiple occasions to report the intolerable working conditions leaving cleaners unable to keep schools safe and hygienic.
Lyndal Ryan, United Workers Union Property Services Director, says schools are filthy and will only get worse following today’s budget.
“Not only did the Premier fail to commit any additional funding today, enhanced cleaning hours integral to keeping schools COVID-free during the pandemic have now been scrapped.
“Schools have a shortage of cleaners, and those cleaners don’t have enough hours to do their work to a reasonable standard that won’t endanger the health of your local school community. It’s a race to the bottom.
“We have received reports of children hanging on all day to avoid using toilets that despite cleaners best efforts are never really left spotless.
“The Premier is well-aware of the crisis happening in schools but has chosen to turn a blind eye. He is sending a message to the parents of New South Wales that their children don’t deserve a clean and healthy learning environment.”
A school cleaner can have as little as 10 minutes to clean each classroom, but requires much longer depending on the room’s condition when they arrive on shift. With the number of children, curriculum and school events seeing this change daily.
Cleaners work split shifts that can start at 4 am and finish at 6 pm, and includes an extended duties list such as emptying all bins, cleaning each individual toilet, machine buffing floors and washing down communal spaces like hallways and outdoor grounds. See a full list of duties here.
Following today’s kick in the guts, school cleaners are done being ignored and will take action in the coming week. “They will do whatever it takes to get the Premier to meet with them and understand the extent of the school cleaning crisis,” Ms Ryan said.
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