Sack Spotless

Written By: - Date published: 7:20 pm, April 2nd, 2008 - 13 comments
Categories: workers' rights - Tags:


I’ve just got back from a small but very vocal picket outside Spotless’ corporate HQ on The Terrace in solidarity with the 800 cooks, cleaners and orderlies from hospitals around New Zealand who began 24 hours of strike action today.

They’re striking because despite agreeing to a pay deal with Spotless last year the company has decided to renege on actually paying them. Apparently nine months wasn’t long enough for Spotless to get its funding in order.

This is just shit. These are some of the lowest paid workers in the country, and until they discovered their own power last year were some of the most vulnerable too. They went through hell to get that pay rise. Spotless was so determined to keep extra government funding for wages to itself that it locked these workers out for nine days without pay to try and starve them into submission. The lockout was only lifted after the Employment Court ruled it to be unlawful.

And now, after all that, Spotless won’t even pay its workers what they’re owed. This has gone on for far too long – if Spotless won’t deliver on its commitment to its workers and to the public then it’s time our DHBs gave them the sack.

In the meantime, you can contact Spotless’ HR manager Peter Jennings at and tell him to pay up or get out of our health system.

13 comments on “Sack Spotless”

  1. Sheeeee-it! I agree with you Tane! Spotless have a legal and binding contract with their workers, based on offer and acceptance, so they should pay up. On this occasion, I am delighted to join you in saying “Up the workers!”

  2. Tane 2

    Hey IV2, unfortunately it’s not that simple. Spotless agreed to the terms of settlement , and these were ratified, but the company has not yet signed the document. So even though it’s a done deal, legally it has no force, which is why they’ve been forced to strike. Conversely, if the document did have legal force then strike action would have been illegal.

    Nevertheless, the deal has long been done and Spotless has had plenty of time to get its funding in order. So there are still good grounds for a rightie like you to support the workers on this one 🙂

  3. higherstandard 3

    Not often I agree with you Tane but I’d back the workers 110% on this one.

  4. I was always taught that the essential elements of a contract were offer and acceptance. On that basis, if Spotless made an offer to their workers via the union, and the workers accepyed it, even if ink never made it to paper, Spotless don’t have a legal leg to stand on, much less an ethical one. But then again, they’re Aussies – so what would you expect??!!

  5. Policy Parrot 5

    The state sector, SOE’s and CrOC’s should be looking hard at the employment practices of the companies they sub-contract to. It seems there is a case at least once a month gaining media attention in the State or State-owned sector.

    If they are desperate to reduce costs, they should first look to reduce top-heavy management costs rather force sub-contractors to impose wrongs their staff. The subcontracting is just an efficient manner of management “washing their hands” of employment issues – when in fact these employees should be on the official state payroll.

  6. Monty 6

    I hope they all vote with their feet and find new work with smaller cleaning companies who are desperate for good staff. Life is about choice – why don’t the cleaners etc just go elsewhere.

  7. Matthew Pilott 7

    Monty, not that I would accuse you of lacking it or anything, but wouldn’t you say this is about the principle of the matter, given there is a broken agreement here?

    Would you pack it in and resign with your tail between your legs and your balls in a doggy bag if your employer didn’t honour a contract, or would you raise hell over it?

    Did you read the post or are you just proving that you’re a troll whose purpose is to mindlessly oppose everything on this site?

    Tell you what, leave the mindless arguments to the experts, you’re boring, not funny

  8. Tim 8

    Monty – They could have “voted with their feet” as you put it, but instead they took the far more effective route of bargaining collectively.

    After a lengthy campaign and a nine day lockout which the Employment Court held was unlawful, they reached an agreement with Spotless and all the other employers in the sector on a new minimum rate of $14.25. Only Spotless hasn’t paid it out and Spotless was the only company to implement a lockout. If they went to the commercial cleaning sector they’d be paid between $12 – $12.55 because there is far less union organisation in that sector.

    You’re right life is about choice, you’d be foolish to “vote with your feet” when you’ve got the opportunity to organise and bargain collectively to improve your terms and conditions of employment, something that won’t happen if you just give up and leave and get an equally poor rate (or worse) somewhere else.

    Good to see broad agreement on this site that Spotless are in the wrong. Spotless is doing incredible damage to its business.

  9. K Douglas 9


    It would be good if you could find out if the DHB’s have held their end of the deal?

  10. Leftie 10

    Of course Monty’s solution of “voting with their feet” is ideal in such a low unemployment environment. Referring to the previous two decades, if the Tories take the reigns again “voting with their feet” won’t be an option.

  11. AncientGeek 12

    I haven’t been following this. But the herald article does not exactly inspire me with confidence in the management of Spotless.

    I’ll have a look through the rest of this thread

  12. higherstandard 13


    Agreed the the word buffoon comes to mind.

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