In Australia, the commercial cleaning services sector has been identified as one of the sectors at highest risk for labour abuse and modern slavery. Workers often experience underpayment, withholding of wages and excessive working hours.
Key drivers of non-compliance in the sector include:
- Complex subcontracting arrangements;
- Low barriers to entry for labour hire providers;
- A largely migrant workforce, often with precarious visa conditions
- Aggressive price competition.
COVID-19 has exacerbated these risks.
ACCR is engaging building owners on the policies and processes that they have in place to manage compliance in their cleaning supply chains. ACCR is calling on building owners to adopt a cross-sector approach to managing supply chain risk that actively involves workers and their representatives, alongside suppliers, property owners and statutory agencies.
This type of approach is sometimes referred to as 'worker-driven social responsibility'. Drawing on decades of research, we argue that worker-driven social responsibility (WSR) initiatives offer a more robust form of human rights due diligence than social audits. WSR initiatives actively involve workers and their representatives in compliance measures, and have been shown to be effective in addressing labour risks.
ACCR is engaging the following companies on their cleaning supply chains, and on cleaning service procurement more broadly: Scentre Group (SCG), Dexus (DXS), Mirvac (MGR), Lendlease (LLC), GPT Group (GPT), Stockland (SGP), Vicinity Centres (VCX), Charter Hall Group (CHC).