Crowdfunding campaign launched for cleaners

Fundraising campaign aims to raise $2000 for five former University of Tasmania cleaners.

United Voice has launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise money for five former University of Tasmania (UTAS) cleaners the union claims lost their jobs following a contract change.

The university contract, previously held by ISS Facility Services, was awarded to GJK Facilities Services in March. At the time United Voice petitioned the new contract had resulted in more than nine cleaners losing their jobs under the new service provider.

According to the GoFundMe campaign, launched last week, seven cleaners were reinstated following public calls from the union for the university to intervene.

“In March this year, the University of Tasmania (UTAS) changed their cleaning contract from ISS to GJK.  This resulted in over nine cleaners losing their jobs through no fault of their own. After a high profile campaign demanding UTAS intervene and save their jobs, seven of those cleaners were reinstated at a cost to GJK with no additional funding from UTAS,” the GoFundMe page states.

“Now, on the eve of their probation expiring, five United Voice members have been made redundant. GJK and UTAS are using legal loopholes and unethical contracting practices to shirk responsibility for their dedicated, hard-working cleaners.”

The fundraiser, led by United Voice’s Tasmanian branch head Sarah Ellis, has raised $1870 of its $2000 goal, which will be put towards supporting the former workers, according to the page.

“The GoFundMe was set up to give the cleaners a little peace of mind whilst they find new jobs,” Ellis told INCLEAN.

“United Voice is supporting our members to pursue their rights and entitlements to the full extent of the law, but given these staff were forced to renew their probation when the UTAS cleaning contract changed, such entitlements will be limited.”

Steve Taylor, GJK executive chairman and CEO, told INCLEAN a fair process was applied for determining the redundancies and all affected employees were notified in accordance with the Award.

“The care and compassion for our employees is paramount and this decision to make some redundancies was not taken lightly. However a fair process was applied for determining the redundancies and all affected employees were notified in accordance with the Award,” Taylor said.

“We are pleased to have reached a mutually agreeable position with United Voice on the settlement for employee redundancies and will continue to work in consultation and in good faith with United Voice to support their members where possible.”

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