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Cleaning Industry trade organisation realistic about minimum wage

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The Building Service Contractors of New Zealand Inc (BSCNZ), the only trade organisation representing up to 60% of employed cleaners working in New Zealand, says its members were surprised by the size of the increase in the minimum wage announced yesterday.

BSCNZ ‘s Chief Executive Lillian Small said members did not expect an increase as high as 3.4% given the rate of inflation is so low.

"The BSCNZ is supportive of initiatives to further improve the terms and conditions of workers in the Property Services industry. We all want to see our cleaners paid as much as possible, but we are realistic about what the market can sustain," Small said. The BSCNZ has negotiated a Multi-Employer Collective Agreement (MECA) with the Unions which has resulted in members paying consistently above the minimum wage for many years. Small said that the new minimum wage is not too far above the existing MECA rate and is consistent with what the cleaning industry is paying as a minimum. The trade organisation is currently in bargaining phase with the E tÅ« Union for a replacement to the current 2015 MECA which, it is hoped, will achieve an ongoing mutually beneficial agreement. "In the past the MECA has made specific provision for increases to the existing basic rate to be passed on to cleaning staff where our customers subscribe to enhanced conditions," Small said. "In the end what members can pay their staff comes down to what their customers are prepared to pay for cleaning services. There’s a balance to be struck to ensure our members are able to maintain profitable businesses whilst also supporting improvements in the terms and conditions of workers in the Property Services industry".

As a result of the size of yesterday’s increase Small cautioned that the relative margin between the MECA rate and the minimum wage may not stay the same.

"Our industry plays a vital role in providing healthy environments for the whole of a building’s lifetime, benefiting building owners using a Registered Building Services Contractor. The BSCNZ brand name ensures customers that their provider is trustworthy, low risk and will deliver high performance and ethical service. We have achieved this through the promotion of training and ethical standards." Small said that BSCNZ members employ over 20,000 people in New Zealand and are businesses committed to providing a good service based on fair contracting principles and employing staff who enjoy fair pay and conditions.

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