NSW cleaners strike back
The NSW Carr Government's attack on the State's education system is centred on teachers but also extends to school cleaners. Around 2,000 NSW cleaners, employed by contractor Menzies Property Services, began industrial action last week, demanding that the Carr Government put more funding into cleaning contracts. The workers' stand comes from the fact that school cleaning hours cannot afford to be cut any more. The cleaners went on strike for 72 hours from last Friday. Menzies has a five-year contract with the Government to clean government schools, technical colleges, court houses, police stations and other public buildings. Lack of funding has resulted in huge pressures being placed on the workers, who have suffered a series of severe cuts to their working hours ever since the former Liberal Greiner Government privatised the Government Cleaning Service in 1993. "The Carr Government cannot wash their hands of this dispute", said Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers' Union Secretary, Annie Owens. "They control the cleaning contracts with the private contractors. "The Government is out of touch if they think six minutes are enough to clean a classroom which holds 30 children. It's impossible to vacuum, wipe desks and bench tops and mop floors in that time."