Parliament House cleaners are taking action after five years of no pay rises by calling on Australian politicians to help fund a living wage for the staff who keep Parliament House clean.
Cleaners union United Voice has set up a not-for-profit company with the sole purpose of collecting donations from the politicians at Parliament House to be distributed quarterly to the cleaners.
‘We Clean the People’s House’ will be in operation until the cleaners achieve a living wage. The company has three directors: John Falzon, CEO St Vincent de Paul Society, Jo-anne Schofield, national secretary United Voice and Hilary Russell Wardle, solicitor.
“It’s gotten to the stage where we need to ask for help for the cleaners to earn a living wage, and we are asking for a fortnightly donation from our well-paid politicians,” said Lyndal Ryan, United Voice ACT branch secretary.
“It is outrageous that the cleaners have had no wage rise for five years, whilst the population of the building has risen to 5000 when Parliament is sitting and with more functions taking place.”
John Falzon added that “the people who clean Parliament House are not invisible people”.
“They are people. They have families they are struggling to support and rents they are struggling to pay.”
Around 40 cleaners are employed to clean and maintain Parliament House which is open every day of the year except Christmas Day.
‘We Clean the People’s House’ is being launched today, Thursday 15 June, by Parliament House cleaners, John Falzon and Lyndal Ryan at Parliament House, Canberra.