According to a report in today’s The Australian Business pages by James Frost, United Voice ‘has blasted the management of Spotless, the target of a $711 million takeover bid, for being arrogant and said it would rather work with private equity than the existing owners.
“Spotless is floundering and in need of a shake-up,” Michael Crosby of United Voice is quoted as saying.
“Management has failed to deliver value for shareholders and has failed to respond to cleaners’ concerns about the crisis in the cleaning industry. They have shown themselves to be arrogant. Any change in management, be it privately owned or publicly listed, would be welcomed.”
The Australian story points out that presently fund managers and shareholders are trying to persuade the company to accept the $2.68 a share bid from Pacific Equity Partners or face an extraordinary meeting and board spill.
‘Representing more than 4000 Spotless employees, United Voice has echoed many of the sentiments expressed by critics such as Orbis Australia and Investors Mutual,’ Frost wrote.
He added that, ‘Spotless would not be drawn on the union’s claims of failing to properly inform its shareholders but a spokeswoman described the rest of the union’s claims as a stunt. “The . . . statements by United Voice discredit the union and disrespect tens of thousands of hard-working cleaners across Australia,” she is quoted as saying.
“This stunt is the latest in a series by the United Voice union, forming part of a wider fear campaign . . . aimed at property owners and contractors to bargain for a separate wage agreement for shopping centre cleaners.
“United Voice has ignored all other cleaners over this time, thereby seeking to create pay disparity for cleaners.”
As previously emphasised by Spotless, the BSC says it pays award wages and had recently assumed responsibility for hundreds of employees after a sham cleaning contractor at a major shopping centre went broke.
It has reiterated that the union should focus its efforts on raising award rates rather than high-profile public companies. “Spotless believes that the modern award, introduced by the current government, should be the focus of any wage campaign to ensure all cleaners benefit equally,” the spokeswoman said.