As stated in a press release by United Voice,
‘on the eve of Australia Day, Wednesday, 25 January, thousands of cleaners across the country will walk off the job, protesting the lack of a fair go in the retail cleaning industry.’
“Australia Day celebrates our country — a land based on the concept of a fair go and fair rights for the work a person is doing. But Westfield, one of the most recognisably Australian brands around, fails to even give its own cleaners a chance at a fair go,” says Michael Crosby, national organising director of United Voice, the cleaners’ union.
Shopping centre cleaners have ‘ been working for over a year to try and get their employers, cleaning giants like Spotless, Glad and Assetlink, and shopping centre owners, like Westfield and Colonial First State, to ensure basic Australian rights, like fair wages and fair workloads. In return, these companies have ignored these hardworking families, showing nothing but disregard and disrespect to cleaners and to all shoppers.’
“Shopping centre cleaners in extremely profitable malls, like Westfield’s around the country, are being exploited,” Crosby says. “These are the people who work extremely hard to ensure clean and safe shopping centres that we want to spend our money in.
“But, in return, shopping centre owners like Westfield are slashing cleaning contracts, meaning there’s no money to pay proper wages or have proper staff. Many of these cleaners are migrants. They’ve moved to Australia in hopes of finding a fair go. But, in return, they’re being abused and exploited.”
A recent study conducted by United Voice claimed to have found that ‘cleaners are forced to walk an average of 13kms per shift, with over 90 percent knowing that they don’t have enough saved to retire at 65 and over 85 percent worried about their financial security.’
“Cleaners want to change this and improve the cleaning industry, ensuring cleaner shopping centres for all. But, for all of their hard work, they’re not being given the fair go that our country promises — and instead being forced to go without,” states Crosby.
“Retail cleaners across the country will walk off the job today to protest their lack of a fair go — the lack of alignment with the work that they do and the values our country claims to have. It’s time that cleaning giants, like Spotless, Glad, Assetlink and shopping centre owners, like Westfield and Colonial First State, see the light and do their part for those who work so hard to keep shoppers returning and centres clean.”