Sinn Féin Seanad spokesperson Workers Rights Paul Gavan has called on the Irish Contract Cleaning Association to immediately honour a 40 cent per hour pay increase to thousands of contract cleaners across the State.
The cleaners, many of whom work as front line workers in hospitals in the battle against Covid-19, were expecting a 40 cent pay rise at the beginning of March, which would have brought their hourly rate of pay to just €11.20 per hour. However, according to SIPTU who represent these workers, contract cleaning companies have reneged on the pay rise which had previously been “agreed on proposal”.
Senator Gavan said;
“The decision to withhold this pay rise simply beggars belief. We have contract cleaners putting their lives on the line in hospitals throughout the country, who get paid just €10.80 an hour. One of those workers has already lost his life to Covid-19 with hundreds more infected.
“Their union, SIPTU, had negotiated a 40 cent increase in good faith with employers. I now understand that the Irish Contract Cleaners Association are refusing to implement this pay increase.
“Over the past 5 years SIPTU have managed to secure successive Employment Regulation Orders to begin to lift wages from just above minimum wage level. This year many more people have become aware of the incredible work done by these contract cleaners, and the real value of the work they do.
“People will be shocked to hear that employers have chosen this time, just as we are trying to win the battle against Covid-19, to refuse a pay increase to our front line workers who are playing such a key role. Apparently it is ok to applaud these workers, but heaven forbid they get a raise in pay from their current rate of €10.80 per hour.
“The Irish Contract Cleaners Association, which represents all of the big cleaning Companies in this State, need to immediately honour the 40 cent increase, backdated to March and apologise to their employees.
“This issue highlights again what happens when good public jobs are privatised. Cleaners employed directly by hospitals are paid at least €3.20 an hour more than those employed by private for profit cleaning companies and also have pension and sick pay benefits.
“There needs to be a major review of these privatised services with the aim of bringing them back under direct hospital contracts. This would not only be better for the workers but cheaper for the taxpayer too.”