Union vows to fight proposed cuts to dinner ladies’ hours
A TRADES union has pledged to fight “worrying” plans from the county council which could see school dinner ladies lose up to £100 from their monthly pay packets.
In July, a leaked Derbyshire County Council report showed that the authority was considering reducing the number of hours that catering staff work by eight per cent.
This would see catering supervisors – or dinner ladies – working 37 hours a week earning around £97 less each month. Those working 30 hours would earn almost £80 less.
The council said this is to ensure it can compete with private sector catering firms and that the “small cuts”, if approved, would not impact on the quality of school meals. The council employs 952 catering staff.
GMB officer Lesley Waudby said: “The county council have started a consultation to slash school staff catering hours and this could take as much as £100 a month out of dinner ladies’ pay packets.
“Worryingly, nobody at the county council has even looked at the feasibility of delivering the school meals on these reduced hours, and the council have done nothing to assess the gender pay impact of these cuts to a predominantly female workforce.”
In June, the authority increased the cost of school meals for the first time in three years.
The cost of primary, nursery and special school meals went up by 10p to £2.10 and secondary school meals by 5p to £2.88.
The changes were made as a result of the increasing costs of supplying 60,000 meals each year while maintaining high quality food.
The council says the cutbacks to catering staff hours are a result of “rising food and labour costs”.
A council spokesperson said: “We are consulting with our primary school meals staff over possible small reductions in the number of hours they are employed for.
“We need to find budget savings. We would expect staff to lose in the region of half-an-hour to one-anda-half-hours a week. We do not believe that these small cuts in hours will affect the quality of the meals our staff produce.”