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Airport toilet troubles spark cleaners' ire

Toilet paper, rubber gloves and wipes are being handed out to passengers at Melbourne Airport as an industrial stoush between cleaners and their employer gets dirty.

Toilet paper, rubber gloves and wipes are being handed out to passengers at Melbourne Airport as an industrial stoush between cleaners and their employer gets dirty.

Toilet paper, rubber gloves and wipes are being handed out to passengers at Melbourne Airport as an industrial stoush between cleaners and their employer gets dirty.

Cleaners this morning distributed free hygiene packs to passengers as they vote on whether to take industrial action in a bid for better pay.

United Voice, the cleaners' union, warned travellers could face overflowing rubbish bins and filthy toilets if the workers decided to strike once voting ends next week.

"People flying back home are likely to see a dirty airport, thanks to Spotless's refusal to back fair pay for its cleaners," United Voice Victorian Secretary Jess Walsh said.

"But we don't want anyone to be caught short or inconvenienced, so we're offering passengers hygiene packs to help them make a clean getaway."

The packs contain toilet paper, a rubber glove, anti-bacterial hand wash, a cloth, a wipe and a toilet-seat cover.

Angela Galeano, 64, has worked as a cleaner at Melbourne Airport for eight years.

She said her working conditions had deteriorated since Spotless took over the domestic terminal cleaning contract last year.

Ms Galeano said the cleaners, who earn $16.57 an hour, were fighting for a $1600 yearly airport allowance, which they had previously been paid.

The cleaners also want a daily toilet allowance, paid for cleaning toilets during a shift, doubled from $2 to $4.

Ms Galeano, who works night-shifts, said the workload was often overwhelming as the day-shift cleaners had to clean around the 5000 passengers who use the domestic terminal each day.

Ms Walsh said the airport allowance compensated workers, like Ms Galeano who commutes from St Kilda, for travel costs to the airport.

She said cleaners employed at other airports and in the international terminal received the allowance.

The Age has contacted Spotless for comment.


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