Tasmanian Labor is calling on the government to stop contracting out services like cleaning in the state service and instead to directly employ these essential workers and provide them with better workplace conditions.
Labor Member for Clark Ella Haddad said International Cleaners Day provides an opportunity to focus on fair and safe working conditions for cleaners as they support Tasmania’s recovery from COVID-19.
“We’ve learnt a lot of lessons from the pandemic, not least of them the incredible work done by essential workers,” Ms Haddad said.
“We know that cleaners are essential to keeping Tasmanians safe as we emerge from the COVID-19 emergency and return to workplaces and other activities.
“But, even though state service employees, including casuals, received paid pandemic leave and were guaranteed ongoing pay during the shutdown, contractors like cleaners and security guards missed out.
“Not only that, but many contracted cleaners and guards were not even given appropriate PPE, such as gloves or hand sanitiser, by their employer and received no WHS consultation and no additional training to deal with the pandemic.
“Beyond COVID-19, it is clear that contracting out these essential services results in insecure employment for cleaners and guards, poor pay and conditions, poor workplace practices, and constant turnover of management.
“In government, Labor introduced the Clean Start principles, which provided job security for contract cleaners when the company changed hands, guaranteeing their long service leave and other entitlements.
“But the Liberal government scrapped Clean Start and once again left these essential workers in a precarious position, with no security and no guaranteed entitlements.
“The government must use this International Cleaners Day to recognise the importance of cleaners and other contracted workers in the state service and provide them with direct employment.
“Their role is essential. COVID-19 has made that clearer than ever. These workers should be treated as such and provided with the same conditions and entitlements as other state service workers.”
Labor Member for Clark