Monday, 11 May 2009

Cleaners deserve respect!

The Service and Food Workers' Union's 'Clean Start' members are holding a rally in Auckland on Thursday (14 May) to mark the launch of bargaining for their MECA* for commerical cleaners nationwide.

Together cleaners have already won $14.62 an hour for hospital and directly employed school cleaners and now want to win the same pay for commercial cleaners. This workforce is predominantly female and often includes a lot of immigrant workers who do long hours to support their families. When commercial cleaning contracts are tendered for the main area the companies compete on is labour cost, i.e. whoever can get away with treating their staff the worst wins. Thus the SFWU is also campaigning for changes to the way this contracting works, to encourage a more responsible approach.

Best of luck to those rallying on Thursday, I hope the weather is good!

* A MECA is a multi-employer collective agreement. It covers a range of different employers, aiming to set pay rates and conditions across an industry and give workers greater strength by negotiating together in bigger numbers.


Anna said...

Go the cleaners!

Something I really don't like (and it seems to be more blatant in the US than here) is the idea that people on low wages have themselves to blame for not upskilling themselves for better paying work. But until someone invents self-cleaning floors, I think we should appreciate the cleaners and pay them a living wage.

Anonymous said...


Amazing that all the Unions are all suddenly out in the open again after that long 9 year hibernation!
I am amazed!

stargazer said...

wow anon, you really must have had your head in the sand for the last nine years and never read a newspaper or watched tv or read any news on the internet.

last year, the unions were active in the clean start campaign, they were extremely active in pushing for a 5% increase in wages in 2005 (the "5 in 05" campaign), they were extremely active in lobbying for the increase in minimum wage for minors to equal the adult minimum wage. and those are just the things i remember off the top of my head.

i'd suggest you spend some time educating yourself anon, cos your ignorance is a little embarassing.

stargazer said...

oh, and i forgot the very well publicised finsec campaign a few years ago, protesting the unfair lending targets set for bank staff, pushing staff to lend money to clients who really couldn't afford it. of course this reckless lending of a few years ago has been one of the major factors in the current recession.

stargazer said...

sorry, but i couldn't help adding the strikes by progressive enterprises workers that were in the media for weeks (anon, have you really been in nz for the last decade, cos it seems a little doubtful), and the EPMU working with air nz to try to keep 600 jobs from going offshore, and the junior doctors strikes, and the nurses & teachers unions achieving significant (and much needed) increases in pay, and...

ok, i think you see what i mean by embarassing ignorance anon.

Julie said...

Great lists Anjum, one small addition: kindergarten teachers went on strike in 2005 for only the third time in the history of the profession.

And we weren't exactly silent about workers' issues under the previous government (even though we've only existed since March 2008), here are posts on bus strikes, the EPMU's Work Rights Drive, and striking CLEANERS at Spotless .

It's the Year Zero meme (most commonly seen lately in regard to pay equity) once again and oh I am heartily sick of it.

Anonymous said...

Wow, an '05 campaign and something by Finsec a "few years ago". Oh and a handful of supermarket protests...

And yet under National these all look pale in comparison - even NZUSA have restarted their campaiging again.

How cute that you get all precious about this - it's obvious that the Unions, led by the EPMU will be flexing their muscles under the Nats. Don't even try to deny it :)

Suzy QT said...

I agree Anon - I have heard more trouble brewing from the unions than I have in a long time.

Can somebody here please explain the difference btw Labour and the EPMU?

stargazer said...

anon, if national continue to have policies that are detrimental to workers, then of course the unions will oppose them (like the 90 day fire at will act for example). and the fact that you can write off significant and effective campaigns with a "wow" and a "precious" shows that you're just not interested in facts or in any of the work that unions do.

the unions have been very active in the last decade and will continue to be so. the fact that you choose to blindly ignore the last 10 years (or to dismiss them cos it doesn't suit the line you want to spin) doesn't alter the facts at all.

as i said, it just shows up your embarassing ignorance. if you want to keep displaying that ignorance, go right ahead. it only reflects on you.

suzy, it's not our job to educate you. there's a thing called google, i'd suggest you try that for a start. it's quite easy to use, even little kids manage it.

MaryMary said...

I looked on Google, the EPMU president is the same as the Labour president. So Suzy, there is no difference.

In other terms the Unions have made it clear that National is and will always be the enemy and the lack of respect from contributors here to answer that shows their apparent bias as well.

Hope that helps.

stargazer said...

that's so clever suzy. now google, just for an example, graeme milne and see how many companies/organisations that he is a director of. does that mean that all those organisations are one and the same - that the waikato district health board and nz pharmaceuticals are one and the same organisation now? how about you check the boards of directors of the top 50 nz companies. if there is one person that sits on the boards of two companies, does that mean there aren't really two companies, there's only really one?

i'm sorry mary but that is more than a little tragic.

and unions will advocate for workers rights. if the national party chooses to erode those rights, of course they can expect some opposition.

Suzy QT said...

And yet you didn't answer the question about the EPMU and Labour - why are you so defensive?

Anonymous said...

Suzy with your attitude you are lucky your posts haven't been deleted.

I don't think you have any right to call anybody defensive. You should be grateful that you're being allowed to express your opinions. People have been banned for much less.

stargazer said...

suzy, your throwaway line shows that you aren't able to sustain an argument, if you need to use "defensive" like a previous commentor using "precious".

and i notice you haven't bothered to answer my questions.

and anon, yes, we delete trolling comments here. and i can see that we've got a quite a few trolls turn up all of a sudden this evening - the same evening that we've been linked to by ACT on campus.

for further guidance as to what's acceptable here, see our comments policy and this post by julie:

as i've said to others, if you don't like the way this blog is run, you're perfectly welcome to stay away.

Julie said...

Actually we haven't banned anyone really. There've been a few people we've had problems with who have not returned after we've deleted some of their comments. There was one person we probably would have banned but they haven't come back (under that log in) so it hasn't been necessary.

And even if we did ban someone - isn't this OUR blog? Do we not have the right to do that? There are plenty of people who comment here to express their disagreement who manage to do so without being abusive or offensive. Their comments stand and are generally debated.

To reiterate what Anjum has said - if you don't like the fact that we don't allow gutter commenting then feel free to go somewhere else.

Saying EPMU = Labour because they share some personnel is ridiculous. You might as well say that the Families Commmision is now the For the Sake of our Children Trust because of Rankin's appointment, which is clearly not the case. Michelle Boag was involved with the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Trust when she was National Party President (I think) did that mean they were somehow merged?

Jimungo said...

Ah no. EPMU = Labour as they are one and the same. Same President (which is a hellava huge difference btw her and Boags other presidencies) and they share colleagues up and down the organisational ladder. I have seen the simularities and think it should be given a lot more consideration than a throw away denial that you seem to want to feed us.

Mary Mary said...

Yes I agree, there is a lot more about this that you Labour girls want to tell people. I would have thought you'd give a better answer than to say "nothing to see here". It will only make us wonder more!!

stargazer said...

"throwaway denial"? is that really the best you can do, jimungo? pretty sad, when you haven't bothered to answer my question about graeme milne. and you haven't been able to explain the difference with boag. you say there's a "huge difference", but how? why? again you show that you have no argument.

and mary, wonder all you like. doesn't change anything.

really, you two, please try harder. i'm having a good laugh reading your comments, but would actually prefer some serious debate which showed you had bothered to put some thought into what you wrote here.

Jimungo said...

You'd need to put together a decent enough argument first Anjum, we all think you're trying a little too much to not answer our questions.

Boag was not politically attached to another organisation when she was the NP president. The EPMU is a political organisation, they even applied to use their funds to fight the election for the Labour Party last year. The EPMU have members scattered through different levels in Labour - and have no qualms about hiding their preference for Labour. So yes, a HUGE difference!

Go on, throw us another strawman!

stargazer said...

jimungo, i've put up plenty of decent arguments but until now you haven't been able to respond to them.

i find your attitude interesting. if someone belongs to a union, they shouldn't belong to a political party? in which case, no member of the employers and manufacturers association should belong to the national party either, right? or federated farmers? or the business round table? i could just as equally say that these organisations are synonymous with the national party.

you're really clutching at straws here, and i'm wondering why you're so desperate to tarnish the EPMU? a little too much anger and attention to this by you is making me quite suspicious.