Months of stalling and silence from RMIT University forced a delegation of a dozen union cleaners to demand, and win, a meeting with university management about future job security.
Uncertainty surrounds RMIT’s restructuring of cleaning services, including jobs that some cleaners have held for decades.
“I have worked for RMIT for 31 years and never has it been like this,” said cleaner Gloria Rivas.
The delegation confronted management at RMIT’s 27th floor property services office in Lonsdale Street.
Faced with an insistent protest, a property services representative met the delegation, reversing months of university stalling tactics.
Cleaners demanded answers about the future of their jobs, working hours and conditions.
Angela Milkovic, a cleaner at the university for 21 years, said rumours suggested workloads could be intensified and rostered hours cut back. She said could not afford to start work at 3am for brief work shifts.
“No-one should be asked to do that, get up at 2am, get into the city and work for two or three hours: that’s impossible and it’s unfair,” said Angela.
It is 12 months since rumours suggested cleaning services were to be restructured. Until today no-one from RMIT had met cleaners despite repeated requests and petitions for information.
Today cleaners won a meeting, but that is not the end. They are planning to meet on Friday to ensure that RMIT is held accountable for its actions.
As Gloria said to management: “We will be back.”