Organising by UNISON Southampton District reps in Noonan Services is going from strength to strength.
First cleaners won a pay increase - and now ongoing health and safety issues have been resolved. UNISON membership has made a real difference to this group of workers.
In June, UNISON rep Tomasa Bullen was key in persuading the University to ensure that contractors like Noonan paid their staff the same rate as the Living Wage. Southampton Solent University was already paying its staff above the Living Wage to directly employed staff – but had not taken responsibility for ensuring a fair wage for cleaners and other out sourced staff.
UNISON Regional Organiser James Smith said:
"We are delighted that the university has taken this positive step and encouraged that the time that UNISON members have devoted to campaigning on this issue has seen such a positive result.”
Now – thanks to thanks to ordinary UNISON members organising together – ongoing health and safety concerns have also been resolved. Many of you will have signed our petition calling on Noonan to provide appropriate equipment for their cleaners. These staff often have to mop up hazardous substances as part of their role but Noonan, until recently, supplied a wholly inadequate number of rubber boots suitable for this task. There were more sites to clean than there are pairs of boots!
Helped by support and publicity obtained through the petition, Tomasa negotiated with Noonan Services that extra safety equipment should be made available, including more Wellington boots and safety goggles. It was also agreed that where contaminated water was involved, cleaners would not be expected mop up the fluid. Instead, they would seal the area and managers would arrange for a specialist cleaning company to clear up the contamination.
“Health and safety is an ongoing issue and whilst we recognise the progress that has been made, both Noonan’s and UNISON are committed to ensuring the best of conditions for cleaning staff.”