This year saw Melbourne hit by COVID outbreaks as a result of subcontracting arrangements that failed to protect quarantine hotel workers from the risks of infection. Inadequate working conditions including lack of accountability, insufficient staff training, failure to provide sufficient PPE, and even a failure to provide minimum wages and conditions each played a part.
Short-term profiteering by companies is a public health issue. Not only does it jeopardise the health and safety of workers, it increases risks for the whole community and has major implications for the whole economy.
What’s been missing from recent headlines are the stories of frontline cleaners who have been keeping up with increased demand of sanitising shared public spaces such as in shopping centres and office buildings. Many cleaners are not being provided with adequate safeguards like PPE or sufficient training in how to meet higher hygiene standards. Many workers are working unpaid overtime because their contracts are insufficient to cover the additional cleaning required to keep us all safe.
The industrial issues which make these sectors high risk for Modern Slavery are the same issues that have resulted in these sectors becoming a risk to public health and to the broader economy.
The first company ACCR will be targeting is Scentre Group (SCG) who own Westfield shopping centres. We are asking them to implement increased due diligence on their cleaning contracts, to ensure that the cleaners who are responsible for keeping us all safe aren’t subject to wage theft and even modern slavery.
Scentre’s AGM is coming up in early 2021, and we need your help as shareholders to support our resolution to secure worker safety and rights.
Many Scentre Group shareholders have already registered their support, but we urgently need more registered supporting shareholders to be able to file the resolution to Scentre Group.
If you hold Scentre Group 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. If you have friends might be Scentre Group shareholders, please share this page with them.
Register your support as a Scentre Group shareholder
There is no cost associated with registering as a supporting shareholder with ACCR. If you have questions about this program, see our frequently asked questions resource, or please contact us if you have further questions.
We are engaging with a number of other companies on their cleaning supply chains and on cleaning service procurement more broadly. If you are a shareholder in any of these other companies, please let us know or go ahead and update your holdings: Dexus (DXS), Mirvac (MGR), Lendlease (LLC), GPT Group (GPT), Stockland (SGP), Vicinity Centres (VCX), Charter Hall Group (CHC).
Thanks as always for your support,
Dr Katie Hepworth
Director for Workers' Rights, ACCR