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Contractors a dirty tactic: cleaners
Contractors a dirty tactic: cleaners

Newton Moore Senior High School has brought in contract cleaners over fears for the health and safety of staff and students as unionised cleaners continue work bans.

Cleaners and other education support staff across the South West are continuing their work bans over stalled pay negotiations with the State Government, but Newton Moore cleaner-in-charge Graeme Farr said there had been no impact on students whatsoever from the cleaning ban.

“Because it’s an independent school the principal has the right to do that, but in no way has our action influenced the teaching capabilities of the school,” Mr Farr said.

“I don’t think there’s any need for it. We’re only not cleaning the administration centre or emptying waste paper baskets — everything else is being cleaned.”

The level one work bans started earlier this month.

United Voice South West regional organiser Lee Edmundson said the school cleaners were not happy with the private cleaners being on site.

“It just makes their resolve even stronger, this is all about getting a better deal,” he said.

He said he was concerned the private contract cleaners had not undergone the same training as staff cleaners.

Department of Education Workforce executive director Cliff Gillam said the school was doing nothing wrong.

“Principals are entitled to use school funds to employ contract cleaners if they feel cleaners’ refusal to carry out certain tasks may compromise the health and safety of staff and students,” he said.

Mr Gillam confirmed the contract cleaners were only doing what work staff cleaners would not do as part of the bans.

Tasks included emptying bins and cleaning staff toilets in administration areas.

Mr Farr said he anticipated work bans would escalate in the future.

“We’ve had nine meetings with the Education Department and it’s gotten nowhere,” he said.

“We’re very disappointed with the Education Department, they have offered $22 a week pay increase, whereas the cost of living has gone up by $30 per week.”

Mr Edmundson said he also suspected there would be an escalation of industrial action if the Government did not increase its offer of a $22-$28 per week pay rise.