Hotel cleaners forced to take 'hygiene shortcuts'

15th of March 2013
Hotel cleaners forced to take 'hygiene shortcuts'

Hotel cleaners in Australia are being forced to take shortcuts when cleaning guest rooms in order to meet stringent deadlines, a union claims.

Jess Walsh of the United Voice union estimates that it takes 45 minutes for a cleaner to properly maintain a guest room. But hotel bosses are demanding the job be done in as little as 15 minutes, she says.

And cleaners also claim to be given too little time and insufficient materials to thoroughly clean rooms. Yustina Laisanna, who worked as a cleaner at a four-star Melbourne hotel until 2012, says time constraints have worsened over the past 20 years as agencies cut back on cleaning supplies and cram more tasks into seven-and-a-half hour shifts.

"Cleaners use hand towels and face towels to clean the glasses for drinking. Or they go to the toilet bowl and then go to the next room and touch the glass," she said. "The hotel just doesn't give you a clean cloth for every room."

But managing director of Tourism Accommodation Australia Rodger Powell claims cleaners are generally provided with the appropriate time and materials to ensure high standards of cleanliness. And he adds that in many cases, 15 minutes is ample time in which to clean a room well.

Chief executive of Accommodation Association of Australia Richard Munro agrees with this view. "The product has to be first rate, so we as an industry don't compromise on standards," he said. "If someone is not giving cleaners enough time to clean their rooms, their consumers will tell them."


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