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MPs Back Their Cleaner's Pay Claim
Posted On: Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Parliamentary cleaners now have the backing of those who benefit most from their hard work - the MPs whose offices they clean between midnight and 6am.

Winston Peters, Labour's caucus and the Greens have all made a commitment to back the cleaners' claim to increase their hourly rate from $13.85 an hour to a minimum of $15. This follows meetings between the cleaners, who are members of the Service and Food Workers Union and MPs.

"Most of the cleaners have been on $13.50 an hour until this week when their pay has increased to $13.85," said SFWU advocate Jill Ovens.

"The Prime Minister's cleaner has been cleaning the Beehive for nearly 20 years and is still on less than $15. The MPs agree that is not enough to live on."

Jill Ovens said that the cleaners explained to MPs that they have a clause in their collective agreement stating that their employer, Spotless, will increase their pay rates if the client agrees to fund the increase.

"The client in this case is Parliamentary Services," she said. "The MPs have agreed to approach Parliamentary Services to support the cleaners' claim and offered whatever support is required to achieve the pay rise."

Jill Ovens said SFWU was approaching other political parties and asking them to stand up for their cleaners as well.

"It's very hard work, which happens at dead of night and it can be invisible," she said. "And Parliament can of course be a dirty place."

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