Parliament House’s hardworking, long-term cleaning staff face an uncertain future because of a contract change.
Limro Cleaning, the company which held the contract for cleaning services since the building first opened in 1988, advised their cleaning staff two weeks ago that they had lost the contract.
Despite repeated requests, United Voice, the cleaners union, was unable to find out the name of the new company until last Friday.
The union has now established that Dimeo Cleaning Services has been awarded the cleaning services contract. This is to not only to clean inside the building (as the previous Limro contract covered), but for the external cleaning as well.
How many staff will be offered work and on precisely what terms is unclear.
Lyndal Ryan, United Voice ACT Branch Secretary says, “United Voice has been chasing a meeting with the incoming contractor to seek further details and so as to provide some assurances to the cleaning staff. Unfortunately, to date, we have not been able to lock down a commitment to hold a meeting.
“This is disappointing, as the cleaners are waiting anxiously to find out if they have a job and on what terms.
“It is well known in Canberra and around the halls of Parliament House that the cleaners have been fighting for a wage rise for the past five years. Now is the time to clean the mess up that the Abbott government created by abolishing the Commonwealth Cleaning Services guidelines and effectively establishing a wages freeze. The cleaners deserve transparency during this time of a contract change, as well as a living wage and job security.
“We want the company to meet with us now so that cleaners can finally have some peace of mind. Dimeo has won the right to clean the nation’s most important building. They should be making a smooth transition for its cleaning staff their highest priority. Many of these cleaners have worked in Parliament House for decades and for many different Prime Ministers and governments. The whole workforce is so important for Parliament House to keep operating efficiently.”
Media comment: Lyndal Ryan, 0411 643 982
Cleaning Parliament House – key facts
- Around 40 cleaners are employed to clean and maintain Parliament House. Many have cleaned the building for decades.
- Parliament House cleaners all have high-security clearances; their job requires them to have the best professional cleaning skills and the highest discretion and professionalism.
- More than 5,000 people work in Parliament House.
- More than 1,000,000 people visit Parliament House every year.
- Parliament House is open every day of the year except Christmas Day.
- Parliament House has more than 4,500 rooms with a total area of 250,000 square metres.
- On 1 July, 2012 Parliament House cleaners’ wages increased to $21.17 per hour, and their pay has not increase since.
- In July, 2014, Tony Abbott’s government abolishes the Commonwealth Cleaning Services guidelines as part of their ‘war on red tape.’ This move effectively freezes the wages of Parliament House cleaners. • On 14 June 2017, on International Justice Day for Cleaners and Security Guards, a not-for-profit company ‘We Clean the People’s House’ is established and asks politicians for donations to help fund a living wage for Parliament House cleaners.
- May 2018, Limro Cleaning loses the Parliament House cleaning contract after holding it since the building opened.
ACT Branch Secretary: Lyndal Ryan Twitter: @UnitedVoice_ACT Facebook: UnitedVoiceACT www.unitedvoice.org.au