Camden dinner ladies demand to be paid fair wage by council

Camden dinner ladies are not currently paid the London Living Wage. Picture: PA Archive.

Camden dinner ladies are not currently paid the London Living Wage. Picture: PA Archive. - Credit: PA Archive/Press Association Images

Dinner ladies from Camden schools have pleaded with council bosses to pay them a fair wage.

Staff employed by Caterlink, Camden Council’s schools catering contractor, attended Monday’s full council meeting to deliver a deputation demanding they are paid the London Living Wage.

Camden Unison officer Hugo Pierre, representing catering staff, told full council: “Tonight you do need to meet some of the people who are living on poverty wages in this borough and they don’t earn £20,000.

“They’re often earning on average less than £400-a-month. It’s a mainly female workforce and they are often working 16 to 17 hours a week on the national minimum wage.

“They incredibly provide 8,000 meals a day to Camden’s schoolchildren on behalf of this council.”

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Since July 2012, Camden Council has awarded 162 contracts to companies paying at, or above, the London Living Wage.

There are 10 contractors which currently do not pay the wage, including Caterlink, and the council has pledged to ensure all those contracts pay the benchmark rate by 2017.

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On Monday, council leader Cllr Sarah Hayward assured Caterlink staff they would be paid the rate by 2016 at the latest - when the Caterlink contract expires.

Last week, a four per cent rise in the wage - calculated by the Greater London Authority (GLA) - was announced.

The wage is an informal benchmark, which is calculated to be the minimum pay needed for workers to lead a decent life.

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