At 5.30pm on the same day as cleaners appeared in front of a select committee at parliament a public meeting was being held here in Palmerston North on the same issue.
Helen Kelly President of the CTU presented the case of why the Nat's industrial relations amendment bill should not be passed.
But first here is what went on at the select committee. After the hearing ended Tau Henare a National Party List MP who is well known for his flapping tongue couldn't help himself and voiced comments on the national news, "that if Mrs. Sinota, one of the cleaners making a submission, didn’t like her job, she should leave and let someone else do the job"…this idiotic statement was typical of the kind of thoughtless and big headed statement often made by this National Party Lap-dog.I think Mrs. Sinota was very brave indeed to appear in front of the committee...she deserved a medal not an insult from an idiot supreme.
Cleaners have made a tearful plea to MPs not to pass an employment law change that could see contracted workers lose their jobs if small businesses take over cleaning and other contracts.
Mareta Sinota was one of three cleaners who appeared at Parliament's industrial relations select committee on Thursday to submit against part of the Employment Relations Amendment Bill which would exempt small companies from having to provide continuity of employment when they take over a contract.
The law would exempt cleaning, catering, orderly and laundry businesses with fewer than 20 employees from having to offer work to the previous contract company's workers.
Mrs. Sinota is one of about 30 Spotless cleaners who clean Parliament's toilets, vacuum floors and empty the rubbish late at night.
"It's a hard job, a dirty job, but we don't mind being cleaners. We are proud to clean the most important house in the country," she said.
The cleaners, who are contracted by Spotless, received $14.10 an hour - just above the minimum wage of $13.75 - and Mrs. Sinota says she spends about $100 on transport for work each week, making it a struggle for her and her family to survive on a cleaner's wage, and the threat of losing her job if a smaller business undercuts Spotless' price is an added concern.
Sosefina Masoe and her husband have worked as cleaners at the Police College in Aotea for eight years.
In that time, Spotless cut their hours, before losing the contract to OCS - which kept their jobs, but cut their hours further.
She says they are worried the contract could change again and - if the law passes - they could lose their jobs.
Mele Peaua, a Spotless cleaner at Hutt Valley High School, said small, cheap companies will drive down the quality of cleaning, and if the cleaners lose their jobs, they have no redundancy protection.
Tau Henare’s stupid and degrading comments brought this response from one on line reader, and I quote:
“Tau Henare's comment on national television that if Mrs. Sinota didn’t want her job under Nationals proposed legislative changes she should find other employment is typical of the sick, cynical, inhuman and out of touch mindset of the National Party and their many supporters in NZ business.
An absolutely disgraceful comment from a politician who leads a privileged life on the back of the NZ taxpayer while the likes of Mrs. Sinota clean up after his bowel motions!
What a pig of a "man" (if you can call him that) and what a pig of a Party he represents! Imagine what this Party is doing to hard working NZers behind their backs if they have the gall to insult toilet cleaners on national television! Despicable and unacceptable behaviour from a government politician - the last National politician who denigrated a waiter for doing his job was forced to resign - the same fate should befall Tau Henare! What a dog!
|Murray Georgel DHB CEO|
Since I had to leave the Palmerston North Helen Kelly meeting to attend another event, I wasn't there for the discussion, but the Leisure Centre was pack out, but I realised just how badly treated our cleaners and care givers are and how favorably employers are being treated by this government.