A cleaners' union plans to petition Executive Council convenor Leung Chun-ying to demand he arrange a meeting with the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department to discuss its controversial outsourcing policy. The Cleaning Workers' Union, which has 500 members, said it had previously asked Mr Leung to set up a meeting with the department to discuss the problems of low-income cleaners employed by the department's contractors. It received no reply. 'We told Mr Leung's assistant that we wanted an answer before last Friday, but we still heard nothing from them. We will hold a petition on Tuesday, when members of the Executive Council have a meeting,' said Wong Pui-yan, the union's campaign organiser. Ms Wong pointed out that the department divided cleaners into two groups - cleaners and toilet cleaners - with the latter paid a lower wage. 'The department wants to save money as they do not have to pay the same amount to all cleaners. The Leisure and Cultural Services Department and Housing Department have also outsourced cleaning jobs to contractors, but they do not divide cleaners into groups and give them all the same wage rate,' she said. 'What we really want to see is whether Mr Leung can bring this issue to the Executive Council, and also arrange a meeting with the FEHD and urge it to review its outsourcing policy.' The department said workers were classified as either cleaners or toilet attendants, according to the nature of their work. 'Job duties for cleaners include sweeping streets, cleaning roads, clearing drainage, and so on, while toilet attendants have to clean washrooms,' it said in a written reply. It said contractors were required to pay general cleaners and toilet cleaners no less than the average market rates listed in the Census and Statistics Department's Quarterly Report of Wage and Payroll Statistics. As of December last year, the monthly salary for a general cleaner was HK$5,241 for 26 eight-hour working days. The rate for a toilet cleaner was HK$5,114 for 26 nine-hour working days. Ms Wong said the union hoped Mr Leung could help prompt government concern about the unfair treatment of toilet cleaners. 'As the Executive Council convenor, we expect him to look at the issue as a whole and solve the problem at the government level. We also want to arouse other Exco members' concern for cleaners,' she said. Mr Leung, who supports a statutory minimum wage, has pledged to help one of the union's members, Ah Ying, a toilet cleaner employed by a contractor hired by the FEHD. The toilet cleaner's hourly wage was cut from HK$23.50 to HK$20 when her job title was changed to 'washroom attendant' in 2005. Mr Leung helped find Ah Ying a new job, but she turned down the offer because she suffered from serious back pain. Ah Ying and Mr Leung first met last month on a televised TVB forum called Speak Up, during which she explained how cleaners were exploited. Mr Leung was one of the guest speakers. 'We appreciate what Mr Leung has done for our case involving Ah Ying, but we hope he can do more to help other cleaners who are being exploited in Hong Kong,' Ms Wong said.