Much needed payment returned to cleaners - L&T, SOL, ISS and RTK-Palvelu show the way
”I am really proud of my employer now that we have got such a good agreement”, Erja Killström (right) says. According to Kirsi Marttila, extra mess causes extra work. Photo: Vesa Väärä
Staircase cleaner Kirsi Marttila is satisfied that her employer Lassila&Tikanoja reinstated the much needed payment for cleaning body waste. ISS Palvelut, SOL Palvelut and RTK-Palvelu have followed – now a body waste bonus should be introduced across the sector.
“All sorts of stuff is brought into staircases stuck to shoes, and puppies have accidents.”
This is how Kirsi Marttila, a cleaner in Turku unit, describes typical “surprises”. The staircases in her area are now clean, but ten years of cleaning staircases have left her with thousands of tales to tell.
“There used to be a serial pooper in the lift of one building. Another building was full of vomit”, she describes calmly.
”It’s fantastic that we got the body waste bonus back”, Marttila says.
Separate agreements needed under collective agreement
For eight years the body waste bonus was not in the collective agreement for the sector, but it was brought back earlier in the year in the union round, although it is now a locally agreed element. Erja Killström, Southwest Finland regional head shop steward at Lassila &Tikanoja, says that the employer, L&T, agreed to negotiations straight away when all the shop stewards suggested it together.
“But we are tied by the text of the collective agreement: the body waste bonus is agreed locally at workplaces, not as an overall agreement”, Killström explains.
“Various amounts were put forward by both sides”, Killström describes the negotiations. The end result was a payment of 17 euros per body waste cleaned. It covers all body waste from humans or animals, whether blood, urine, vomit or anything else. The size of the waste doesn’t matter, but photo evidence of the place has to be provided.
“The payment equals about 1 ½ hours’ wages in pay scale 2 for cleaners”, Killström says.
Payment for employees
The content of the agreements made and the payments vary by company. At SOL and ISS the payment is 15 euros. The shop stewards at these companies also say there was consensus behind the agreements.
“By now companies have been saving for many years, being able to invoice customers for extra mess without having to pay their employees”, SOL head shop steward Janne Forsman points out.
Now that the big companies in the sector have shown the way, company agreements should be made across the sector to benefit all employees.
Staircase cleaner Marttila stands at the foot of a spiral staircase.
“We do the work, so it’s only right we get paid for it”, Marttila says.
Now that cleaners get the payment, they don’t work in a flap, which is a health and safety issue, because there is a risk of contagion.
“Cleaning up surprises interrupts your work because you have to fetch the right equipment. You can’t wipe it up with the rest.”
What has been agreed in companies
What waste?: Any body waste from humans or animals.
Who is concerned?: Cleaning and support services
Payment: 17 euros per waste, increases in line with general increases
Applies from: Start of August
What waste?: Blood, stool, vomit indoors
Who is concerned?: Workers covered by facility services agreement
Payment: 15 euros per waste
Applies from: Start of November
What waste: Semen, snot, mucus, blood, stool, vomit, urine indoors
Who is concerned?: Workers covered by facility services agreement and others working in sector
Payment: 15 euros per waste
Applies from: Start of September
What waste?: Blood, vomit and stool
Who is concerned?: All employees in facility services sector
Payment: 15 euros
Applies from: Start of January 2019