After multiple investigations over the past 12 months of cleaning staff being underpaid and mistreated while working in government schools, the Victorian Government has announced a complete overhaul of cleaner procurement.
A United Voice union survey of 300 cleaners found 80 per cent were being paid below-award rates, with one woman claiming to earn as little as $2.63 per hour, cash-in-hand, in her first week of work.
The Government announced the new model will to be rolled out across Melbourne next year, prior to its roll out across regional Victoria. Under the new model, eight zones will be created across metropolitan Melbourne and a single cleaning contract will be awarded for all schools in each. Previously, there were 100 cleaning contracts which created a 'regulatory nightmare', according to United Voice.
The Department of Education and Training will work with existing cleaning contractors to ensure a smooth transition to the new arrangements, with support available for small businesses. An open and competitive tender process will be run to appoint cleaning companies to the eight zones.
Successful companies will be required to recruit from the current Victorian government school cleaning workforce.