Cleaners at Parliament have taken industrial action for the first time ever over their employer's refusal to pay a decent Living Wage.

The cleaners, who are employed by cleaning contractor Spotless Services Limited (SSL) are only paid $12.55 an hour - five cents above the minimum wage.

The same cleaning contractor already pays all its cleaners in public hospitals and many working in schools $14.62 a hour.

The cleaners say they are fed up of waiting to be paid fairly, and protested outside Parliament on the 17thFebruary.
"All we are asking is to be treated with dignity and respect, and to be paid fairly." says SFWU member Allan Gaylard.
"I clean Parliament from mid-night to dawn, and I think a lot of these MPs do not know we exist. It is OK for John Key and Members of Parliament to say they will not get a pay rise this year, but they earn more than $130,000 with John Key earning $400,000, whereas I earn $12.55 an hour!"

The cleaners, who are members of the Service and Food Workers Union Nga Ringa Tota, have been in negotiations for their Multi Employer Collective Agreement with the cleaning contractors since May last year.
So far the contractors have only offered a 25-cent pay rise, which would still leave the workers on just above the minimum wage, even after 1st April.
"At the weekend the Prime Minister told protesters in Auckland that he didn't think he could live on $420 a week." says Mea'ole Keil, Clean Start organiser.
"Many of our cleaners earn less than that, and they can't survive on $12.55 an hour. They deserve a fair living wage."
"We understand Bill English pays his cleaner $20 an hour, and we're pleased he respects his cleaner enough to pay them fairly. We'd love other cleaners to get the same rate, but to begin with, how about paying all cleaners in the Public Sector closer to $15!" says Mea'ole.