Cleaners employed by multiple large cleaning companies will form a picket line today in Auckland as the companies have offered them nothing at all in recent negotiations. The picket will be outside a special general meeting of the Building Service Contractors of New Zealand, the employer association for cleaning companies.
E tū members have been in negotiations for the multi-employer collective agreement (MECA) for commercial cleaners seeking a pay increase to the Living Wage and other improvements to conditions, such as the provision of first-aid kits.
The employer representatives have offered nothing at all – not even the 30c above the minimum wage which has been negotiated in previous terms of the agreement.
The employer parties to the MECA are OCS, ISS, City Cleaning, PPCS, Total Property Services (TPS), Millennium, Kleenrite, Watershed, United Cleaning Services, and Westferry. These companies hold some of the biggest cleaning contracts across both the public and private sector.
“We feel that cleaning companies don’t care about the cleaners, and they don’t respect us,” says Jackie Clark, cleaner at Auckland International Airport.
“Getting no offer is stressful for us. We have whānau to feed, and rent and other bills to pay. It’s also affecting our health physically and mentally, and these cleaning companies don’t care.
“We’re doing this for all the cleaners around the country, because we all deserve more.”
E tū Director Sarah Thompson says the zero-offer is a particularly stubborn position.
“Although cleaners have traditionally been paid near the minimum wage, we have usually been able to negotiate some increases above that rate in MECA bargaining,” Sarah says.
“For companies to not budge even one cent above the minimum wage is unprecedented and frankly insulting, especially during a cost-of-living crisis.”
Sarah says the employers’ position is a clear demonstration of the need for a Fair Pay Agreement in the cleaning industry.
“We’ve initiated bargaining for a Fair Pay Agreement for cleaners because our members are sick and tired of being undervalued for so long.
“When employers are committed to offering literally nothing to their own workers, the system is broken. We need to negotiate a Fair Pay Agreement that truly values the essential work of cleaners across Aotearoa, and that’s why E tū will be campaigning to re-elect a Labour-led Government which will keep this vital mechanism in place.”
Wednesday 26 July 2023, 10:30am-11:30am
172c Marua Rd, Mt Wellington, Auckland