ACCR Company Engagement Scentre Group Ltd

Scentre Group is one of the largest procurers of commercial cleaning services in Australia.

Scentre Group is the owner and operator of Westfield Shopping Centres in Australia and New Zealand, and one of the largest procurers of commercial cleaning services in Australia.

As part of ACCR's program of work looking at labour rights in the commercial cleaning sector, ACCR has been engaging with Scentre Group about how the company prevents wage theft in its cleaning contracts, and how it manages safe workloads for contracted cleaning staff. After months of engagement, the company has agreed to report on these issues, as part of its Responsible Business Report and Modern Slavery Statement, to be released in the first half of 2021, which ACCR will be scrutinising.

The commercial cleaning services sector has been identified as one of the sectors at the highest risk of labour abuse and modern slavery. During the COVID-19 pandemic, these risks have only increased. Frontline cleaners are working hard to keep up with new hygiene requirements for public buildings, and these increased workloads need to be fairly reflected in contract prices, and additional oversight of working conditions is necessary.

At a bare minimum, companies should be publicly reporting on:

  1. How they verify that contract prices are sufficient to ensure the payment of legal minimum wages and entitlements, and safe workloads;
  2. How they ensure that their cleaning contractors are meeting workplace health and safety obligations to their workforce; and
  3. Information about grievance mechanisms available to cleaning workers in company supply chains, including information on how cleaners are accessing these mechanisms, and how the company is responding to complaints.

Updates

  1. Modern Slavery

    Scentre Group agrees to boost pandemic reporting

    ACCR has agreed to withdraw a planned shareholder resolution at their upcoming AGM calling for additional reporting from Scentre on its management of cleaning contracts.

  2. Scentre Group

    Calling all Scentre Group Shareholders

    If you hold Scentre Group (ASX:SCG) shares, please consider registering as a shareholder with ACCR to support this important work to ensure that the cleaners who are responsible for keeping us all safe aren’t subject to wage theft and even modern slavery.

  3. Modern slavery

    Modern Slavery, Subcontracting and Commercial Cleaning

    In 2020, ACCR launched a program of work that looked at material risks associated with various forms of indirect employment: labour hire, contracting and subcontracting. The commercial cleaning sector was identified as a sector where subcontracting is rife, and the risks associated with indirect employment are high.

  4. Subcontracting

    Broken chains of responsibility: Victorian COVID-19 clusters reveal subcontracting risks

    This short-term profiteering is a public health issue. Not only does it jeopardise the health and safety of workers, but it increases risks for the whole community, and has major implications for the whole economy.

  5. Research

    Labour Hire & Contracting Across the ASX100

    New analysis shows that ASX100 companies are only reporting to shareholders and the public about their direct employees, while information about their 'indirect' workforces remains unknown.