Redgum Cleaning Cooperative is committed to providing high quality eco-friendly home and office cleaning services. We are building communities resilient to economic insecurity and climate crisis. We do this through worker-controlled direct democracy and dignified jobs grounded in an economics of care.
Redgum members recognise that we live and work on Country stolen from the First Nations People of the Kulin Nation. Redgum members are committed to the cause of Treaty and pledge to take practical steps towards decolonisation in Australia.
Demonstrate the environmental and health benefits of green cleaning
Enable the active participation of members in governing their workplace
Help members to improve their life circumstances though education, personal development and training
Promote the benefits of worker-owned cooperatives to the broader community
The first members of Redgum Cleaning Cooperative met at a community forum on worker cooperatives, hosted in Melbourne by Earthworker in 2015. Earthworker Cooperative brings together people on common ground for grassroots action to solve the social and environmental problems faced by local communities and the planet. The Earthworker forum sowed the seeds for what then became a loose group of people collaborating to create a worker owned cleaning business from the ground up.
Members, driven by their past experiences working in precarious and exploitative industries such as cleaning and retail sectors, came together wanting to create something better for themselves and others in the Melbourne community. In early 2018, Redgum Cleaning Cooperative officially launched. Since then, members have been busy keeping clients happy and healthy with sparkling clean homes, as well as working hard to grow the business and educate more people about the cooperative movement.
Worker member, Events
Pete has 2 years experience in the cleaning industry. Pete has dedicated much of his life to volunteering for community projects, helping to improve the lives of others, such as refugees and asylum seekers. He’s also studying a diploma of community services. When he’s not dusting off your old books, he can be found playing noise music at any Melbourne benefit gig.
Board member, Advisory
Ella has several years experience in the green cleaning industry and has been active in the community as a science teacher and volunteer. Ella’s strengths lie in governance and organising things. She loves getting outdoors and when she isn’t polishing your kettle or answering enquiries, she can be found plotting her next big hiking adventure, or out foraging.
Allison has just completed a Diploma in Shiatsu and Oriental Therapies as well achieving Shodan level in her martial arts practice. She has a background in aged care and has a passion for bringing the care factor back into our shared communities, homes and workplaces. Allison has an eye for detail and enjoys sewing and snuggling with her cat in her spare time.
Worker member, Accounts
Jason has worked as a green cleaner for 2 years and has prior work experience running an art supplies business. With an innate love for formulas, he is our go to guy for finance stuff and spreadsheets. Jason actively supports workers’ rights and is dedicated to improving the lives of others through his community activism.
Worker member, Communications
Eleanor has several years experience in the cleaning industry and has worked in various other service-based industries. As a key organiser for Earthworker cooperative, Eleanor is our main connection to the broader co-op community. She enjoys gardening and making all sorts of things from scratch – her gluten-free bread is the bomb.
Farida is a long term political activist. She was made redundant after attempting some wage-theft related union activity in her hospitality job. She saw the Redgum cleaning vacancy and went for it with all she had. She quite likes cleaning, as far as work goes. It keeps her fit and she gets a good feeling from going out into the community and making people’s houses nice. When she isn’t wiping down your kitchen bench, Farida enjoys a range of activities such as political activism, painting weird pictures and foraging wild plants. She is also fighting a Facebook addiction.
Freyja has about a years experience in the cleaning industry and has just finished a degree in creative writing. She is committed to environmental justice and is a member of Australian Student Environment Network. She’s also a co-editor of ASEN’s zine, Germinate. Freyja is a strong believer in the power of worker control and co-operatives. She also plays the banjo.
Iris hates bios, but somehow someteimes is a writer. She has peviously worked in hospitality, makes community radio, enjoys non-contact boxing and believes in collective social change. She is a white settler, queer and trans.
Board member, Advisory
Formed in compost and shrouded in mystery, Sean has been actively volunteering and organising in cooperatives and grassroots community organisations for the last decade. When not chopping vegetables for fermenting or cooking, he enjoys growing them, and amongst all this is trying to find the time to establish a career as a Shiatsu therapist.
Board member, Advisory
A part-time commercial lawyer, full-time eco champion, Kirsten supports Redgum in encouraging everyday sustainability and responsible environmental practices. From Perth originally, on her days off she enjoys exploring Victoria and the rest of the east coast.
Elana recently started working with Redgum after working in the creative arts industry. She worked in costume manufacturing and prior to that as a trades assistant at a set building company. She thrives on physical work that requires a good eye for detail and enjoys getting to utilise these strengths within her role at Redgum. Her spare time is spent being reading and being a big geek, along with finding fun new ways of lovingly provoking her furball cat.
Cleaning and CooperativesA Match Made in Melbourne
Cleaners are some of Australia’s most underpaid and exploited workers – some have up to $14,000 stolen from their wages each year. Many cleaning companies use subcontractors to illegally underpay cleaners and deny them basic entitlements such as annual leave and sick leave. You can read this report on the exploitation of international students in the cleaning industry in Melbourne, published by United Voice Victoria.
Redgum Cleaning Cooperative aims to turn that around by creating more dignified, well-paid, safe and secure jobs for its members. Redgum is wholly owned and operated by us – the cleaners. Each member has equal voting rights and decisions are made democratically. We believe that if we are to nurture our environment and community, then we need a proper say in the economy, and bringing democracy into the workplace is a good place to start.
Redgum Cleaning Cooperative is committed to building links with community organisations and other cooperatives. As a member of Earthworker’s network of cooperatives, once our business model is proven and our income is established, we will contribute a portion of our profits to a fund that will aid the development of other worker-cooperatives, provide important services to worker-members, and support social justice projects.
We are grateful to the support of the following organisations: