E tū, the union for cleaners and security guards, backs the Green Party’s call for Fair Pay Agreements and the Living Wage for contracted workers in the public sector.
COVID-19 has highlighted what cleaners and security guards already know — that their work is essential, hard, and risky, and their low pay means that they barely earn enough to make ends meet.
“Cleaners have been at the front line of defence during COVID-19, keeping other workplaces clean and safe, so essential services can operate,” says E tū Assistant national Secretary Annie Newman.
“As more workers and the public start to go back to their buildings and public spaces, everyone will want to know that everything is clean and sanitised. It will be a cleaner on near-minimum wage that will be doing this vital work. We cannot go back to accepting that low wages for them are good enough.”
Annie says the Living Wage and Fair Pay Agreements are a key part of E tū’s recently launched Rebuild Better campaign, and are exactly the kinds of transformational policies our economy needs as we recover from COVID-19.
“Two of the five key principles in our Rebuild Better campaign are workers’ wages leading the recovery; and, ending inequality. By paying the Living Wage and implementing Fair Pay Agreements, the Government will have a long-term impact on the wellbeing of working people and their communities.
“The Government should play a leadership role as we move out of this crisis and send a message that low wages are no longer acceptable in Aotearoa. Implementing the Living Wage for its contracted cleaning and security workforces is an urgent and overdue first step. All three parties made a commitment to this at the last election but have so far failed to deliver.
“Fair Pay Agreements, for essential workers like cleaners and security guards will ensure that their work is valued into the future. A Fair Pay Agreement that will set standards for proper wages and conditions across an industry would mean workers could live a decent life, with secure and safe jobs, no matter what cleaning or security company they work for. It will stop the race to the bottom as a result of the contracting model which has seen cleaners and security guard’s wages and conditions stuck at the bottom of the heap.”
info and comment:
Annie Newman, 027 204 6340