Dinner ladies in Wakefield forced to use food banks, trade union claims

Lunch staff have been using food banks after pay problems.
Lunch staff have been using food banks after pay problems.

School kitchen workers across Wakefield have been forced to turn to food banks after changes were made to the way they are paid, according to the trade union UNISON.

The workers who are employed by ISS, which is the school catering contractor delivering services on behalf of Wakefield Council, had their pay dates changed by their employer, which sub-contracts to Engie, the council’s major partner.

But the effect of the change was that workers had to wait three weeks to be paid and then only received two weeks’ pay.

This left some workers in financial hardship with the union reporting that some members have been unable to pay their rent and forced to use food banks.

UNISON regional organiser, Rianne Hooley said, “It is a tragic irony that some of our members, who feed children in Wakefield schools, have been forced to go to food banks so that they can feed their own children.

“The majority of school meals workers are low paid and this disruption has hit them hard.

“It is utterly scandalous that these workers have been forced into hardship and have had to use food banks.”

In response, Glynn Humphries, Wakefield Council’s service director for environment and streetscene, said: “Wakefield Council is committed to good employment practice.

“The council and ENGIE are committed to regularly meeting with trade unions to discuss a range of matters with a view to resolving any concerns raised.”