Last week, over 50 cleaners at Westmead took industrial action, speaking out against the huge rise in contract cleaning at the hospital.
Members took the drastic step to take action because for too long management had been ignoring the growing cleaning crisis at Westmead. After the action management had no choice but to respond.
At the beginning of COVID two contract cleaners were brought in to cover small areas. Since there are now more than 60 contract cleaners on any given day. This has contributed to a noticeably dirtier hospital. Contractors aren't adequately trained and often refuse to follow reasonable requests by nurses and permanent cleaners.
For six weeks management refused to meet with union members to discuss the growing crisis. Members had no choice by to walk out and demand to be heard.
Since then, management have been very conciliatory. They have agreed to remove all contract cleaners at the earliest possible opportunity while consulting the union to ensure member involvement in the process. This is a massive shift and was only possible due to the heroic efforts of members who took the difficult decision to walk out.
The HSU will continue to work with Westmead to get rid of contractors. Members are quietly optimistic that management will now eliminate contract cleaners.
Contractors are an issue in other classifications across the LHD. If you are having issues with them, contact [E-Mail not displayed] to start doing something about it. Encourage your colleagues to join the union at www.hsu.asn.au/join or call 1300 478 679. We are stronger together.