For some months Spotless has been a specific ‘target’ of United Voice in the Union’s Clean Start retail campaign. Now, the BSC has gone on the front foot with a statement that United Voice has been silent on cleaning’s ‘dirty secret’: sham contracting. ‘Spotless is calling on the United Voice union to help the ‘forgotten’ cleaners in Australia,’ said the 18 November company statement.
‘Inexplicably, the union continues to target Spotless which is a company that offers job security, safe work and legislative entitlements while many cleaners employed by unscrupulous operators continue to have no voice.
‘As a major employer that pays its cleaners Award wages, Spotless is disappointed that the United Voice union continues to fail to expose the real culprits that perpetuate poverty wages – the sham cleaning companies who pay below-Award wages or make illegal cash-in-hand payments.’
Spotless employs more than 5,000 cleaners in Australia. It claims that, ‘as the only public company in the sector it ensures high standards, a safe workplace, balanced workloads and ongoing occupational health and safety training and support for our cleaners.
‘For example, over 500 Spotless cleaners are currently undertaking traineeships.’
Spotless states the union is fully aware that its Clean Start Retail campaign ignores all other cleaners and that it can apply to the umpire, Fair Work Australia, to lobby for an increase in the wage standard for all cleaners. The Award has ensured three wage increases for cleaners in the past 18 months, including a wage increase on 1 July 2011.
‘Spotless relies on having qualified and adequately remunerated employees and will immediately pass on future increases to the Award to all cleaners, not just those working in shopping centres.
‘The union’s campaign should be directed at the real issues facing the industry – thousands of cleaners across Australia paid under the Award through sham pay arrangements. The sham contracting problem is so serious that in May 2011, the Government announced it would look into the cleaning industry. This Government action is strongly supported by Spotless.’