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Clean Start - Fair Deal for Cleaners

Commercial Cleaners MECA ratification meetings underway -  May 2014

 Cleaners are meeting to ratify the MECA for two years.                                                            

1.         Term of Collective Agreement 

            We have agreed to a two-year term because we have got the employers to agree to maintain the 35 cents differential above the Statutory Minimum Wage.  If we get a change of Government, there could be two increases in the Statutory Minimum Wage ? one before Christmas to $15, and another next April or May (this could be as high as $16). Whatever the Statutory Minimum Wage is on 2 June 2015, you will get 35 cents above this in August 2015. 

The Term of the Agreement will be April 2014 ? 31 March 2016                                                       

2.         Clause 2 Coverage

Right now, managers and senior supervisors are excluded from coverage of the CEA if they earn more than $16.25 an hour. This has been increased to $16.75 an hour as of 4 August this year and will be adjusted in August 2015 in line with increases in the Statutory Minimum Wage as of 2 June 2015. 

The exclusion is 20 cents more than what was offered before. This means most supervisors are still covered by the MECA.                                                                                               

3.         Clause 6 Definitions

The current clause refers to ?Weekly workers? and ?Hourly Paid Workers?, but all our members are hourly paid. The employers have accepted our claim with regards to fulltime and part-time workers and they have included a definition of casual workers ? ?as and when required due to operational requirements?.  They would not agree to give preference to part-timers for additional hours.  

The employers have agreed to new definitions of fulltime and part-time workers, and casuals. 

4.         Wages & Allowances            

We claimed wording specifically referring to the Living Wage in the pass-on mechanism. This has been rejected. The only way we will get a Living Wage is if enough pressure is put on the clients to fund it for contracted employees (like the City Councils or University Councils).

However, we do have a pass-on mechanism if the client agrees to fund higher pay. This has not been changed.

Note that the pay offer is on both paid and printed rates. This means that if you are being paid above the minimum MECA rates, you will get 35 cents an hour extra in your pay. 

The minimum rate for cleaners is going to be $14.60 an hour from 4 August.


The current contracted school cleaners? and caretakers? rates are well below the rates for directly-employed school cleaners and caretakers. Directly-employed school cleaners will be on $15.60 and caretakers on $17.75 minimum from the end of July.

The proposed settlement will mean contracted school cleaners are on a minimum of $14.60 an hour from 4 August, and contracted school caretakers will be on a minimum of $15.65 an hour.

Because the 35 cents an hour increase is for everyone, even if you are being paid above the minimum hourly rate in the MECA, if you are a school cleaner on $14.87 an hour, you will get $15.22 an hour as of 4 August.

In August 2015 you will get 35 cents above whatever the Statutory Minimum Wage is as of 2 June 2015.  School caretakers will get $1.05 more than the minimum cleaners? rate to maintain their present relativity. 

The minimum MECA rate for school cleaners is $14.60 an hour, but if you are currently getting $14.87 an hour, you will move to $15.22 on 4 August. 

5.         Clause 13 Wages

The employers have agreed that if your employer accepts that you have been short paid, you will get your money in full within 72 hours. 

You will not have to wait till your next pay day to get short pays fixed. 

6.         Clause 23.4 Health & Safety

We have been trying to get an unusually dirty work allowance for the past several negotiations. First we had to define what is meant by ?unusually dirty work?. The change to the Health and Safety clause is a small step in that direction. 

The employers have agreed to a new clause that provides for appropriate clothing and equipment for work involving bio-hazardous or other hazardous work, but no dirty work allowance. 

7.         Clause 25 Security of Employment/Redundancy

The employers have agreed to changes that provide for consultation with the union, including providing all relevant information on which they based their decisions to cut hours or jobs. They have also agreed to consult us about options to be considered, such as redeployment and attrition (not replacing people who leave).

We didn?t like the employers? claim to have ?absolute discretion? over staffing levels. There is an obligation to consult the union and members if a change in staffing levels affects our members? hours of work. It could also be a health and safety issue if cleaners are forced to do more work than is reasonably able to be completed in the timeframe. They acknowledge we could challenge their restructuring on these grounds.

They have agreed to options in a surplus staffing situation and some non-monetary entitlements such as time off for a job interview, a certificate of service and referral to Government agencies.  

Recommendation: The negotiating team is recommending that members vote YES to the Terms of Settlement.


2013 is a big year for Clean Start.

It?s time to put the Living Wage on the agenda. And time to fight to save our protections for cleaners and other vulnerable workers.

We can win TOGETHER!

Click here to open a PDF copy of CleanStart News Flash 2 (March 2013).

Click here to open a PDF copy of CleanStart News Flash 1 (February 2013).  

Living Wage

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