WORKERS RIGHTS: The CFMEU is fighting for the rights of cleaners putting their safety at risk ensuring CS Energy facilities are COVID-19 free. Pic: Supplied
WORKERS RIGHTS: The CFMEU is fighting for the rights of cleaners putting their safety at risk ensuring CS Energy facilities are COVID-19 free. Pic: Supplied

Union calls for job security for CS Energy cleaners

QUEENSLAND Government-owned energy company CS Energy has been accused of using the global coronavirus crisis as an excuse to stop giving their critical cleaning staff an employment contract.

CFMEU Mining & Energy Queensland President Shane Brunker said workers employed by CS Energy's contractor facility manager, PSW, have gone without an employment contract since their Enterprise Agreement expired in December 2019.

"These employees have suffered through two Christmas periods not knowing if they have a job after the break," Mr Brunker said.

"Negotiations between CS Energy and PSW on a new contract have dragged on for 15 months and now and we are still pending a decision on their future.

"(On Wednesday, April 2), CS Energy advised the union by email that the current arrangement will continue to operate until the end of June 2020 at the earliest, and that CS Energy was still reviewing its options.

"CS Energy workers are working right through this pandemic crisis, ensuring the hygiene standards are maintained for the site and that the lights stay on for people of Queensland.

"This is even more humiliating and degrading given the critical role of these workers in the current environment at the CS Energy site.

"This is an untenable situation for workers. These people are putting their health and safety at risk every day, but they are being taken for granted.

"Now they are expected to just carry on, without even knowing their future on an employment contract until at least the second half of the year."

The CFMEU is calling on CS Energy to immediately provide workers with a pay rise of three per cent, backdated to January, to ensure workers aren`t left behind.

"Workers should not be penalised for the failure of management to get its act together," Mr Brunker said.

"CS Energy's actions on this matter speaks volumes to their core ethics, the workers are angry and will review their options over the coming days."

A spokesperson for CS Energy said the CFMEU has made false claims, and CS Energy is dedicated to ensuring the health, safety, and fair employment of their workers.

CS Energy Executive General Manager Plant Operations Leigh Amos said PSW contract cleaners who work at CS Energy's power stations are guaranteed wages if they get coronavirus or have to self-isolate.

"CS Energy's highest priority is the health and safety of everyone at our sites - both employees and contractors," Mr Amos said.

"Casual contractors like cleaners who work for PSW are not our employees, but we value their work."

Mr Amos said CS Energy's contract with PSW expires in June 2020, and negotiations are underway to put a new arrangement in place as quickly as possible.

"It is important to remember that PSW is responsible for determining the pay, terms and conditions of employment under which it employs its workers," Mr Amos said.