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Thursday, 5 June 1997
Page: 5105

Mr McMULLAN —Mr Speaker, I refer to yesterday's question concerning the industrial dispute affecting cleaners in this building. I thank your staff for their assistance this morning with regard to this matter. What arrangements are in place to consult members and other users of the building concerning their preferences with regard to office cleaning while offices and meeting rooms are in use? Will you ensure that the Joint House Department attends meetings with the employer and the unions to make clear the preference of building users concerning the choice between the 4 o'clock to 8 o'clock cleaning option and the 6 o'clock to 10 a.m. cleaning option and make clear the facts concerning the allegation that the changes proposed were in fact requested by the Joint House Department, which I understand to be untrue? If it is clear, as I believe it is, that the convenience of building users lies in the 4 o'clock to 8 o'clock cleaning option in terms of the use of offices, meeting rooms, car parking, et cetera, will you make clear this preference to Limro, to the union and, if necessary, to the Industrial Relations Commission as soon as possible?

Mr SPEAKER —I thank the honourable member for Canberra for his question. I will take it all on notice and report back further, but I do have an update on the information I did provide you with yesterday. The dispute was heard in the Industrial Relations Commission, as I predicted, yesterday. It is understood that, in conference, the parties agreed to a return to work, to the resumption of negotiations between the parties and to report back to the commission on 18 June 1997 about progress with these negotiations.

In the interim, Limro has suspended its proposal on changing the start time of the early shift. The proposal came from Limro and not from the Joint House Department. No cleaners have reported for duty today. A return to work by the cleaners is expected after a meeting of staff tomorrow morning. Limro's managers and supervisors are concentrating their cleaning efforts on the chambers, toilet cleaning and rubbish removal throughout the building.