The Uniting Church Synod of Victoria and Tasmania has today embarked on a letter writing campaign against the Spotless group after becoming aware of the hardship suffered by its cleaners.
Spotless is a major player in retail cleaning. The company cleans many of Victoriaâ€™s largest shopping centres (including iconic centres like Chadstone and Doncaster).
The $2.5 billion global company does contribute to local communities through various charitable activities and during the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires Spotless delivered 7000 meals.
However, this spirit of generosity does not extend to the cleaners it employs to clean shopping centres.Â Cleaners struggle earning around $16.50 per hour.
Synod Moderator Isabel Thomas Dobson said cleaners worked very long hours doing hard work that most people were not prepared to do.
â€œMany cleaners simply need more money to pay their bills and have a holiday once in a while. Cleaners deserve to feel more secure when they retire and I believe we can all relate to those basic human needs,â€ she said.
Creative Ministries Network (CMN), a community services and research agency of the Uniting Church that specialises in Christian social ethics in relation to justice and human dignity at work, has teamed up with United Voice, the cleaners union in a landmark report on working conditions for Australian cleaners.
The report found excessive workloads contribute to a spate of injuries, heart disease, depression, nervous breakdowns and family dislocation.
CMN recorded allegations by cleaners of a litany of routine violations at some of Victoriaâ€™s biggest shopping malls, including cleaners being underpaid, forced to do unpaid overtime, facing staff shortages, bullying, being required to work through breaks, having to work with faulty equipment and not having the right chemicals.
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