representing building managment, cleaning and security staff


Workplace Relations Update from Workplace Advisory Group

Unless you are living in denial, 2018 was the year in which the combined forces of Government, the union and many major property owner/managers all turned against sub-contracting. We even reached a stage where the cleaning industry was accused by the Federal Government (who was elected as being “pro business”) of what was termed Wage Theft.

At this point in history the question must be asked: does sub-contracting have any place in the cleaning industry in Australia? I think the answer is YES but for it to have a place of any value there must be some fundamental things in place:

  • Unincorporated sub contractors are a major risk. They should be avoided.
  • For a sub contractor to be validly engaged they have to be in business for themselves. This means they have to have a range of customers.  If the sub contractor is only servicing one business then trouble lies ahead.
  • The Award is a legal minimum. If the sub contractor is not paying the cleaners pursuant to the Award the relationship is worthless and will wind up costing more than it saves.
  • If the sub contractor has individual cleaners on individual ABNs then that arrangement is doomed to utter failure.
  • Sub contractors are at their best sourcing competent cleaning labour in hard-to-access regional markets. In the bigger city markets sub contractors are useful to spread risk, shave a small percentage off the labour cost and provide a barrier between the contractor and the customer. If you have been told that you can use a sub contractor to pay under the award then you have received poor advice.

What BSCAA wants is for its members to be able to compete on a fair and level playing field. Sub contract relationships that are lacking the factors we have touched on in this article distort that playing field. In 2019 the people who use sub contracts to distort the level playing field will be under huge pressure. BSCAA is there for members doing the right thing and that’s how we will be conducting the industry’s largest speaking voice in 2019.

Written by Mark Diamond, Workplace Advisory Group: January 2019