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CAF’s Certification scheme position workers at the heart of a supply chain. Throughout CAF Building Certification, cleaners are consulted on whether their rights are being upheld and regularly engaged on what conditions are like on the ground at their workplace. The process focuses on educating cleaners and trust-building over time, rather than a point-in-time audit. When implemented, worker engagement alone has proven to be effective in uncovering 70% of labour rights violations, whereas roughly 30% are uncovered through desk-based audits. Below are a few examples of how CAF’s worker engagement approach can work in practice to uncover labour rights violations in the cleaning supply chain:

Case study 1: underpaying workers

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SNAPSHOT

CAF and United Workers Union recently completed a worker engagement meeting where it was identified that cleaners at the site had not been paid for pre-employment and induction training. One cleaner also reported that they were not paid for 10 hours of work.

investigation

INVESTIGATION

The Cleaning Contractor claimed that no pre-employment training occurred, and that staff are expected to complete training induction modules during their shift and in paid time. Our Certification Team requested the Cleaning Contractors’ training register to verify these claims, however, the training register did not have sufficient information to determine whether training was conducted during shift time and whether there was enough time to complete training throughout the duration of a shift.

CAF Compliance Officers audited the Cleaning Contractors rosters and payment systems and identified that a Supervisor, who has since left the company, failed to record 10 hours of work conducted by the employee in question.

Remediation

REMEDIATION

Induction process: CAF has made it a requirement for all training and induction sign off forms to include the time, date and duration of the training, to ensure CAF can corroborate training times with rosters, and ensure training is occurring during cleaners’ working hours. This issue is still being monitored and will be left open until the building’s next Annual Health Check.

Compensatory payment: The cleaner, who was not paid for 10 hours of work, was compensated for the money they were owed. This was a simple issue to remediate as it was not an issue with management, but rather a Supervisor not acting in accordance with company policy. As such, it will be closely monitored in the buildings next Annual Health Check.

Case study 2: unsustainable workloads

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SNAPSHOT

At a worker engagement meeting at a CAF Certified site, a cleaner, who was also a UWU member, reported that he was given too much work by his Supervisor to complete in the allotted shift time. The CAF Representative raised the issue with the Building Manager at their CAF Building Certification quarterly catch-up.

investigation

INVESTIGATION

CAF Compliance Officers investigated the issue and requested the Cleaning Contractor do an audit of the cleaner’s workload. The Cleaning Contractor carried out the audit and deemed there was no issue.

The cleaner reported that he was unable to complete his work in shift time and noted that the Supervisor who was conducting the audit of his workload left midway through the shift and so was unable to accurately gauge whether he was able to complete his work in the allotted time.

Remediation

REMEDIATION

Reduced hours: To remediate the issue, the Cleaning Contractor was then required to reduce the workload of the employee in question.

Ongoing monitoring: Workloads are an active issue at the site and will be revisited at the building’s Annual Health Check. In the interim, the Cleaning Contractor is required to work in partnership with the Union to ensure workloads are manageable for cleaners on-site.

As the above case studies demonstrate, cleaners who work at CAF Certified buildings have the opportunity to speak up without fear of being targeted or disciplined by their employer, as they have the support of CAF, UWU and stakeholders further up the cleaning supply chain. To find out more about Building Certification and how it empowers cleaners to have a voice in their employment, visit our website.

Cleaning Accountability Framework Ltd.