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Cleaner protest targets Commonwealth Bank

The Age    AAP   October 16, 2012

Cleaners have protested outside the Sydney head office of the Commonwealth Bank, demanding pay rises for those working in shopping centres owned and managed by the bank.

Their union, United Voice, says the bank is responsible for ensuring contractors engaged at the more than 30 shopping centres pay cleaners a decent wage.

A spokeswoman for the Commonwealth Bank said it did not directly employ any of the cleaners involved in the dispute.

She said Colonial First State Global Asset Management - a part of the Commonwealth Bank Group - managed the centres on behalf of investors.

The cleaners were employed by "reputable cleaning companies", she said.

Outside the CBA's Martin Place branch on Tuesday, union organiser Alex Morales insisted the bank was to blame for retail cleaners being paid just $17.05 per hour.

"We're asking the Commonwealth Bank to give cleaners a fair go," Mr Morales said to cheers from a crowd of around 20 protesters, many of whom waved anti-bank placards.

"By a fair wage we mean a living wage where you can earn enough to make ends meet with one job, and you don't need two or three like some cleaners have to do.

"We don't want the wages that a Commonwealth Bank executive earns, we just want a fair wage."

David Westrip, a Sydney cleaner for more than 20 years, said price pressure on contractors had resulted in lower cleaning standards at shopping centres.

He said the Commonwealth Bank was awarding cleaning contracts to the lowest bidder, which meant lower cleaning standards and tougher working conditions.

"Cleaners find they're rushed, they can’t do the job properly and they can’t give 100 per cent," the 54-year-old said.

"With the Commonwealth Bank owning so many (shopping centres) they're always going for the low bids, so consequently the contracts themselves are under pressure."

AAP

Last modified onTuesday, 28 May 2013 06:11

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