Chants of, "Hey Brisbane, listen up; the cleaners are standing up!" and "Caruso workers´ rights, worth fighting for!" rang through the Brisbane CBD on June 15, as 60 cleaners, members of the Liquor Hospitality and Miscellaneous Union, marched from the LHMU office to the offices of Caruso Cleaning.
The unionists banged metal buckets, and held up placards reading, "Honk for the cleaners: Support Caruso cleaners for a start!" and "Get on board or get left behind, on International Cleaners Day!"
Caruso was presented by the unionists with the "golden toilet brush award" for its refusal to sign up to the Responsible Contractor Principles (RCP), reasonable conditions to cleaners in the industry.
LHMU Queensland assistant secretary Gary Bullock told the crowd that Caruso "turns off the air conditioning as soon as the cleaners start work in the evening, after the office staff have left, so they have to work in sweltering conditions. We call on the Queensland state government, which owns the building, to ensure full support for RCP.
"The Clean Start Campaign is an international campaign, all around Australia and in New Zealand, and we´re not going away until we win our demands."
According to an LHMU media statement, since the campaign was launched, most major cleaning corporations have adopted the RCP and, as a result, 75% of CBD office space in major cities across Australia is cleaned by companies that have adopted the RCP.
Internation Justice for Cleaners Day on June 15 commemorates a an 1990 immigrant cleaners protest in Los Angeles that was savagely attacked by police. Media coverage of the attack provoked a public outcry in the US and abroad. With the assistance of workers and unions overseas, many of whom worked for the same company as the Los Angeles cleaners, the workers won their strike and secured better wages and conditions.