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7000 cleaners forced to reapply

Arou Akot is among 7000 school cleaners who will need to reapply for their jobs for the first time in 24 years, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

The NSW department of Finance Services and Innovation has notified United Voice, the union representing the cleaners, that employment guarantees in place since 1994 “will not be extended in the new contracts from 2018”.

Mr Akot, a South Sudanese migrant and single father of seven children aged five to 19, has worked for eight years as a cleaner at three schools in western Sydney.

He fears he is at risk of becoming homeless if he loses his job.

Mr Akot said he earns about $1500 a fortnight in the hand and pays $1020 a fortnight in rent.

His work day is split across two shifts from 4.30am to 9am and 2pm to 6pm and he said he was often too busy to take a 10-minute break.

“It is very hard,” he said. “We need a job guarantee. If I don’t have a job, I will be homeless.”

United Voice NSW secretary Mel Gatfield said 7000 NSW school cleaners faced an uncertain future under changes to state government cleaning services.

“For the first time in 24 years, every cleaner will have to reapply for their job, with many facing an anxious wait to see if they will have a job come July next year,” she said.

The union is concerned about the proposed change from an hours-based to a square-metre-based pricing model under the proposed new contract arrangements.

In a letter to the union, Finance Services and Innovation secretary Martin Hoffman said the employment conditions and rates of pay of cleaners would be protected under relevant industrial awards.

FULL STORY

7000 school cleaners forced to reapply for their jobs (Sydney Morning Herald)