Yorkshire dinner ladies get ready for new strike

26 October 2000
Yorkshire dinner ladies get ready for new strike

School dinner ladies in the East Riding of Yorkshire could be about to stage more strike action against Martin's Contract Catering following a new twist to a long-running pay dispute.

Last year union members among the region's 800 school-meals staff held a series of protests.

The row was about their terms and conditions of employment, which Martin's was trying to change.

Martin's later agreed to compensate workers who had had their pay cut and to reinstate the terms and conditions that had been in place before it took over the catering contract in January 1999.

Despite the agreement, the TGWU, GMB and Unison unions claim Martin's is now proposing to slash workers' hours by 10%.

The unions also claim the catering firm has refused to implement the 3% pay rise for the staff, which they should have received in April.

In the next few weeks the dinner ladies will be balloted by the unions on whether they want to take industrial action.

Chris Jenkinson, Unison regional officer, said the children would suffer if there were strike action.

Peter Martin, managing director of Martin's, said staff hours had been hit by a 15p increase in primary school meals, which had meant the number of school meals served had fallen.

But he added: "We believe after half term we will recover the situation and will be able to put hours back as opposed to take hours out." He said all the dinner ladies had had their 3% pay rise.

by Louise Bozec

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