Contributed by Ugly
Hard times we are living in today. Job security has been going out the window as more work is casualised. The public sector, was once regarded as the securest of all. It is no more. Ongoing privatisation has made sure of this and this has hit in a big way in New South Wales.
This is the environment in which school cleaners were faced with an ultimatum. Give up the terms and conditions of their employment. Or fight back. They took up the second option and with the support of their union, waged an ongoing campaign to win public support and embarrass the state government.
It has brought results. They have won a guarantee of job security from the state government. This is great news, in a climate where this is not always so easy to find.
Getting to this point has involved a long campaign against the intransigence of the same government, which had forced 7,0000 cleaners to re-apply for their own jobs, with no guarantees and no promise of ongoing security.
But the campaign was relentless and drew widespread community support around Australia. Many of us signed the petition.
The turn around came last Friday, when the union (Unite) met with the Finance Minister Victor Dominello and an agreement was reached. School Cleaning is not easy and recognising the hard work these cleaners put in and providing job security is the least the government can do.
Every affected cleaner has been given a job guarantee and will no longer be forced to re-apply for their jobs and have an ongoing job in the new contract. The inclusion of an hour’s guarantee means that working hours will no longer be slashed. Protections will be put in place around sub-contracting, to overcome the problem of dodgy contractors and wage theft.
The biggest threat to cleaners since the service was privatised 24 years ago has been defeated.