Most sites are likely to have problem areas in their cleaning supply chain: it is the nature of complex contracting arrangements. In fact, sites that don’t have problem areas are of great concern to CAF, because it often indicates that issues are not being reported. What determines a sites success in CAF Building Certification is not the number of issues a site has, but rather, how collaboratively site stakeholders work together to resolve issues.
At Robina Town Centre, all stakeholders including the cleaners, CAF Representatives (Reps), the Union, Building Manager and Cleaning Contractor work collectively to identify and remediate issues at the site. In practice, this means the Building Certification model becomes self-sustaining, more efficient and beneficial to all cleaning supply chain stakeholders. CAF has interviewed cleaning supply chain stakeholders at Robina Town Centre to gain their insights into how this works on the ground.
The stakeholder that is arguably the most important in ensuring ongoing compliance with the CAF Building Certification process at Robina Town Centre is the CAF Representative: a cleaner who is elected by their colleagues to amplify cleaners’ voices in the workplace and represents cleaners’ interests. Robina Town Centre currently has two appointed CAF Representatives: Le’Vonne Whaanga and Gerrard Tyler. Both are active in advocating for cleaners’ labour rights on site and help to keep cleaners engaged in the Building Certification process. The result is a worker-led certification model, in which cleaners are proactive in raising issues and working collaboratively with other cleaning supply chain stakeholders to find solutions to issues. This not only benefits the worker, but all cleaning supply chain stakeholders, as issues that are identified earlier are less entrenched, resulting in less money and time being spent on remediation down the track.
United Workers Union
United Workers Union (UWU), the trade union that represents cleaners, play an invaluable role in CAF Building Certification. UWU educate cleaners at CAF certified sites on their rights and entitlements and support cleaners to raise issues. As a result, cleaners feel more comfortable in raising issues with the Cleaning Contractor, Trident Services Australia (Trident), and Building Management, QIC, resulting in issues being identified and remediated in a timely manner.
The Union Organiser at Robina Town Centre, Chris Stevens, visits Robina Town Centre regularly to speak to cleaners and meet with management to investigate and resolve issues or concerns that cleaners raise. Often previously cleaners themselves, Union Organisers have first-hand knowledge of the challenges cleaners face in the cleaning industry and can provide support and empathy in times of hardship.
Chris works closely with the CAF Reps, who are also both Union Delegates, and believes that “Having my Union Delegates as CAF Reps allows greater power for improved outcomes at Robina Town Centre.” We can see this reflected in the high attendance at worker engagement meetings at Robina Town Centre. At sites with few or no Union members, cleaners will often feel afraid to attend worker engagement meetings and voice their issues, despite assurances that it will not affect their employment. CAF Rep, Le’Vonne, agrees that having a high number of union members on site, and the safety net of Union membership, gives cleaners “more confidence in raising issues.”
As part of CAF Building Certification, Le’Vonne and Gerrard have quarterly meetings with the Building Manager at their work site, QIC. This gives the CAF Reps a platform to escalate issues to senior management. Through CAF Building Certification, the Building Manager and UWU Organiser, Chris, have built a good working relationship, with Chris regularly attending briefing sessions held by Robina Town Centre Management to identify issues or safety concerns.
Chris believes that management are proactive at Robina Town Centre, and that “they have been normalised to the process and thoroughly understand the set up. It has gotten better each year as it has evolved.” Trident’s CEO, Stephen Goodwin, agrees that QIC have taken an active role in CAF Building Certification and “ensuring good communications with staff”, as well as making sure “any inadvertent errors or issues with pays are immediately addressed…management listening to, and actioning, employees’ issues or concerns is very important.”
As the direct employers of cleaners on site at Robina Town Centre, Trident set the culture and conditions of the cleaners’ workplace. Recently, Trident became one of CAF’s Prequalified Contractor’s, meaning that their systems, policies and procedures have been evaluated against CAF’s rigorous 3 Star Standard: a set of labour principles that ensure decent work for cleaners. Trident CEO, Stephen Goodwin, agrees that “Trident has well established internal compliance processes in place, aligned with its own values of ensuring its workers are paid correctly and in line with broader Fair Work expectations and employer obligations.”
To find out more about Building Certification: CAF’s multi-stakeholder approach to ensuring cleaning services are being procured, managed, and delivered in a manner that foregrounds respect for cleaners’ labour rights, visit our certification page.