by Ganesh Sahathevan
The Turnbull Government, working via the Department Of Human Services , is forcing Centrelink benefit recipients into quasi-contract work as school cleaners for Transfield Ltd (now known as Broadspectrum).The terms and conditions of work are in effect those of contract cleaners, with workers expected to use their own vehicles to get to multiple sites and over split shifts.
Transfield has been awarded the contract to clean and maintain schools in New South Wales
Transfield boasts that it has "successfully placed 70% candidates in cleaning positions on the Transfield Services School contract. All (sic) of whom are job seekers with disabilities, homelessness, long term unemployment and other employment barrier".
However,what is not said in its promotional material, but which it states clearly at its cleaner interview and information sessions is this:
You will commence your employment on a casual basis and maybe
asked to do multiple sites and shifts in the first instance.
Performing employees will be presented with opportunities to go
permanent either on a part-time or full-time basis.
Candidates are told that ownership of a vehicle is "desirable" and nothing is said about
reimbursement of costs for the use of one's own vehicle.
Transfield works with a number of Job Active service providers ,who are in turn delegates for the
Secretary ,Department Of Social Services. Job Active network clients who refuse to consider the Transfield "offer" are threatened with a suspension of benefit payments. By Transffield's own admission, its workers in these school cleaning roles are job seekers with " disabilities, homelessness, long term unemployment and other employment barrier".
Under changes introduced by the Abbott Government Job Active service providers are paid a fee for placing workers in even part-time work, so they too have every incentive to collaborate in this scheme.