The school chefs’ hourly rate of pay is not being cut, but they stand to lose a supplementary pay they receive on top of their hourly wages. Currently the school chefs are responsible for collecting the money that is paid for school meals and transporting it to the bank or post office. Chartwells is looking at outsourcing this role, which could result in the loss of the school chefs’ additional income.
GMB regional organiser Rachel Verdin said: “This money is part of the chefs’ pay, even if it isn’t in their hourly wage. There are staff members who applied for these jobs only three months ago who were told they would receive this cash on top of their hourly wage.”
Unified and vocal
The GMB believes chefs employed by Chartwells who are on a salary of less than £8k could lose £720 per year if this outsourcing comes into effect.
Verdin said: “Committed and hardworking staff who are responsible for cooking the food our children eat have had enough. Many of these workers are single mums already struggling who can’t afford to lose £60 per month, which is a huge amount of money to somebody who is on a low income. The staff have been unified and vocal in saying they’re not happy to accept this, because they are unable to accept it.
“After three consecutive years of pay freezes their wages at £6.66 per hour aren’t far above the national minimum wage as it is. The differentiation in pay between the kitchen assistants and the chefs is being eroded year on year as the minimum wage goes up and chefs get nothing.”
Responding to the GMB claims, Compass stressed that no final decision had been made, and that there would be no cut to hourly wages.
“Chartwells is reviewing the cash collection procedures we have in place in our East Sussex contract. Currently some colleagues undertake this role and we are considering whether it is more appropriate for a specialist third party to perform it. It is important to stress that this is an ongoing consultation and any such changes will not affect the hourly pay rate of these colleagues," said a Compass statement issued to BigHospitality.
“We have met with our employees and the GMB, and remain committed to having an open and constructive dialogue with all parties involved.”
The GMB is discussing the situation with Compass and has a conference set up with the contractor in two weeks’ time.
Verdin said: “We are in talks with Compass about it and I’m hoping they’re going to come back to the table with something to offer.”