Parliament House cleaners go on strike

Cleaners at a rally in Melbourne. Photo: Sue Bolton.

Cleaners held rallies around Australia on June 15 to celebrate International Justice for Cleaners Day.

In Canberra, angry Parliament House cleaners went on strike for the day. At a rally outside Parliament House, they awarded federal treasurer Joe Hockey a giant golden toilet brush.

Yahoo news reported: "The cleaners have walked off the job for 24 hours from 6.30am on Monday, protesting a federal government decision to abolish Commonwealth Cleaning Services guidelines.

"Their union claims the decision has cost cleaners in commonwealth buildings about $6800 a year."

Big employer groups such as the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry want penalty rates abolished.

In Melbourne, the rally marched to the Australian Chamber of Commerce's headquarters.

Melbourne cleaner Victor Barrientos told the rally: "Employers don't recognise the hard work
we do. Australian cleaners work around the clock in the night, early mornings, weekends and public holidays to keep our communities clean and hygienic.

"We give up precious time with our families and friends to do this job and we depend on penalty rates to pay our bills and support our families. We deserve better conditions."

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