Federal Employment Minister Eric Abetz committed an act of political bastardry by back-flipping on Government commitments, deceitfully betraying Commonwealth cleaners.
This week the Senate voted to protect the Commonwealth Cleaning Services Guidelines, which ensure fair pay and working conditions of cleaners working in Commonwealth buildings.
But at the same time, Senator Abetz secretly moved to abolish the Guidelines and rip away more than 20% of the cleaners’ wages, reducing their minimum wage from $22.02/hr to $17.49/hr.
This means Commonwealth cleaners could lose up to $172 a week.
David O’Byrne, Acting National Secretary of United Voice says “United Voice is taking advice on what seems to be a deliberate attempt by Senator Abetz to subvert the parliamentary process.
“While the Parliament was debating this matter, there was not a hint from the Government of what they were doing secretly behind closed doors.
“This makes a mockery of Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s statement in Parliament on 16 June when he said ‘I want to make it absolutely crystal clear that no cleaner's pay is reduced.’
“We call on the Prime Minister to do be true to his word.
“Tony Abbott needs to pull his Employment Minister into line, to do the right thing by the Parliament and by the cleaners who work so hard to make sure the Governments’ buildings are clean and safe.
“The past 24 hours have been bitter for cleaners. Yesterday they celebrated the Senate’s recognition that the Guidelines are essential to ensure fair and reasonable working conditions. Today they face the future with anxiety and uncertainty,” says David O’Byrne.