Langbroek promises 400 cleaner jobs safe until 2018

Chris Rowntree has been a cleaner at Camira State School for 32 years.
Chris Rowntree has been a cleaner at Camira State School for 32 years. Rob Williams

SCHOOL cleaners have received a firm commitment from Minister for Education John-Paul Langbroek that their jobs are safe until at least 2018 and will not be outsourced.

The QT reported last week that cleaners and their union United Voice were concerned that their government jobs would be outsourced if the LNP was to win a second term in government.

There was some debate between the union and the government over whether that commitment had already been given but after the QT's story, Mr Langbroek removed all doubt in a letter to principals in state schools on Friday, October 24.

Mr Langbroek said "the Newman Government will not outsource school cleaners in Queensland state schools during the remainder of this term of government, or in the future should we be fortunate enough to secure a second term".

Camira State School cleaner Chris Rowntree, one of 400 government employed school cleaners in the Ipswich area, said Mr Langbroek's commitment to cleaners beyond the end of the current workplace agreement that expired on January 18, 2015 was "good news and a step in the right direction".

Union branch secretary Gary Bullock said in a letter to Mr Langbroek that the commitment would "allow our members and their families to plan for the future".

Ipswich West MP Sean Choat was one of two LNP members who signed a pledge committing to fight against cleaner outsourcing and restore conditions that had been ripped away.

Ms Rowntree welcomed his support, and said it was needed.

"The only thing we are worried about is that the LNP has pushed through legislation that scrubbed a lot of our protections with regard to a lot of our conditions," Ms Rowntree said.

"There is a formula that the education department drew up that gives us a quota of how many hundred square metres of carpet per hour is to be cleaned, along with things like external concrete and polished floors.

"All of those protections that guarantee our hours and our workload have been scrapped by the LNP.

"If a cleaner left the school the government could quite legally not replace that cleaner, so the cleaners left behind would have to pick that up.

"Labor has given us an assurance that if they gain power they will roll a lot of that legislation back.

"That is what we are trying to get the LNP to do.

"But we are happy that they have said they will not contract us out."

Topics:  cleaners education queensland jobs

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