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Cleaning Services Guidelines just a favour to union bosses - and a cruel trick on workers

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SENATOR THE HON. ERIC ABETZ Leader of the Government in the Senate Minister for Employment Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service

Liberal Senator for Tasmania


16 June 2014

Cleaning Services Guidelines just a favour to union bosses - and a cruel trick on workers

The Cleaning Services Guidelines signed off by Bill Shorten in 2012 as Minister were simply a ploy to prop up membership of the United Voice union. These guidelines required that each new employee be given information about union membership by union officials.

The application of the Guidelines was inconsistent; • They applied only to cleaners of office space used by the Commonwealth Government and not to any other premises; • They only applied to buildings in which the Commonwealth engaged

cleaning contractors and not in buildings in which the building owner instead engaged cleaning contractors; • They applied only in inner city locations.

Minister for Employment Senator Eric Abetz said the fact is the Cleaning Guidelines applied to only 20 cleaning contracts nationwide.

The Opposition is spreading misinformation in relation to the effect of the revocation of the Guidelines from 1 July.

The facts are:  No cleaner will have their wages reduced as a result of the Guidelines ceasing to apply. All existing cleaning contracts that were entered into under the Guidelines will continue to apply beyond this time until they expire.  The removal of the Guidelines will not result in any less workplace protections

for cleaners. All employees of cleaning contractors will continue to be subject to the legal protections of the Fair Work Act and the relevant Modern Award. It will continue to be a requirement of all Commonwealth cleaning contracts that contractors strictly comply with all workplace relations laws.

“The ad hoc arrangements created by Labor, created confusing and cumbersome red tape for suppliers, and we are fixing the mess,” Senator Abetz said today. 2

“The workplace relations laws, the modern awards system, and the Fair Work already provide strong safeguards for workers; there is no need for this additional red tape which costs the suppliers $5m per year,” Senator Abetz said.

Media contact: David Allender 0457 590 881

Examples of the effect of the Opposition’s Cleaning Guidelines (Employment portfolio agencies only)

• Fair Work Building and Construction must apply the Guidelines in its Melbourne office, but not in its Sydney office because cleaning services are provided by the building owner. • The Workplace Gender Equality Agency is located in a CBD location, but does not have to apply the Guidelines because the building owner supplies the cleaning services. • Comcare is required to apply the Guidelines in its Canberra office, but not in any of its six

other offices because the cleaning is provided by the building owner or the contract doesn’t meet the financial thresholds of the Guidelines.