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June 3, 2013 | by  | in News | [ssba]

Cleaners Seek Pay Rise

Cleaners at Victoria are imploring the University to become the first living-wage employer in the tertiary-education sector, as they negotiate a new contract.

Representatives belonging to the Service and Food Workers Union (SFWU) and the Tertiary Education Union (TEU) are negotiating a multi-union collective agreement to raise caretakers’ wages, and consequently lift their minimum pay rates to a living wage of $18.40 an hour. Caretakers are optimistic that such an allowance will be established in their upcoming collective agreement negotiations.

Vice-Chancellor Pat Walsh met with the TEU organiser, Nicki Walton, and discussed what would be involved in the University implementing a living wage for all employees.

“Victoria received good publicity with its number-one PBRF rating. For a relatively small financial investment and commitment to support some of its lowest-paid employees and contractors, it could be number one for the living wage too,” said Walton.

“At the moment it needs to look at its caretakers, library assistants and tutors, all of whom have minimum rates below $18.40, as well as its contracting arrangements.”

Caretakers are also interested in aligning their agreement’s expiry date with the general-staff collective agreement, with the objective of being included in that agreement next time. General staff at the University currently have better leave and petrol allowance.

Victoria University told Salient it isn’t responsible for pay rates of cleaners, as the contract is awarded on the basis of a tendered contract price. Contracts Manager for Facilities Management André Kilian said the University is not involved in any pay negotiations.

“The University does not stipulate how many people the successful tenderer employs or the rates of pay for individual cleaners.

“Pay negotiations between the company contracted to provide cleaning services at the University and its staff do not impact on pay rates for staff employed by Victoria University,” said Kilian.

The VUWSA Executive, while supporting the living-wage campaign, have not made a decision on whether to support the current negotiations.

The living-wage campaign has gained traction throughout 2013, with The Warehouse planning to implement a living wage, and other
bodies including the Auckland City Council looking at living-wage proposals.

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