30,000 workers move a step closer to well earned break

Cleaners and guards across Victoria welcome today’s news that the Andrews Labor Government will introduce legislation for a statewide portable long service leave scheme.

A Victorian scheme will end a long-standing injustice that has seen 30,000 guards and cleaners denied this basic entitlement, and will be an important step towards making jobs in these highly insecure industries more reliable. 

Guards and cleaners often work at the same site for much of their career, but due to contractor changes move to a new employer on average every four and a half years. 

Access to portable long service leave means more than just a well earned break for these workers. Cleaners and guards are at very high risk of illness and injury due to shift work and long days - sometimes working shifts of 12 hours or longer. Long service leave provides an opportunity to recover and prevent illnesses, including sleep and mood disorders and cardiovascular disease. 

Portable long service schemes benefit business too by improving retention and productivity and reducing noncompliance problems. 

This scheme will be a life-changing reform for the 74% of security guards and 61% of cleaners who cannot access long service leave because of contract changes in their industries. It is estimated that 10,000 security guards and 20,000 cleaners will be eligible under the scheme. 

Quotes attributable to Jess Walsh, Secretary, United Voice Victoria: 

“Right now guards and cleaners are treated like second class citizens and miss out on many of the basic entitlements we take for granted. Our members have fought hard to fix this injustice and win jobs they can count on. 

“Today’s news is another step towards a scheme which will mean 30,000 hard-working cleaners and guards will be have a well-earned break. They will be able to spend time with family, to recuperate from hard, physical work, or to take a holiday.”

“Congratulations to the United Voice members over many years who have campaigned for this change. We are now one step closer to cleaning and security jobs we can count on, and long service leave we can count on.” 

Quotes attributable to Ken Howarth, Cleaner at Arts Centre Melbourne, United Voice member

“I’ve worked at Art Centre Melbourne for 11 years, and had two employers. My job is the same, all that changes is the logo on my uniform and that my accrued long service leave goes back to zero each time the boss changes.”

“It’s not fair that because of contract changes I’m not able to access long service leave like every other Victorian worker.”

“Cleaning is hard, physical work and we work around the clock. Long service leave would have meant I could take time off for my body to recover, take time with my family, and maybe take a holiday.”

Media contact: Reed Fleming, United Voice, 0478 699 883 
Ken Howarth will be available for interviews and photos at Victorian State Parliament at 11am, Tuesday 27th March

ENDS

Cleaners and guards across Victoria welcome today’s news that the Andrews Labor Government will introduce legislation for a statewide portable long service leave scheme.

A Victorian scheme will end a long-standing injustice that has seen 30,000 guards and cleaners denied this basic entitlement, and will be an important step towards making jobs in these highly insecure industries more reliable.