Camden UNISON submits living wage pay claim for Caterlink members

Camden UNISON has submitted a claim for school kitchen workers on the Caterlink contract for a new pay scale starting at the London living wage of £8.80 per hour, as well as increased sick pay and holiday pay. The claim, requested to be put into place from 1 April 2014 was agreed by a mass meeting of Caterlink members in February.

Here are the details of the claim in full:

We want to negotiate a proper pay structure for staff that will be based on their responsibilities in the kitchen. In the meantime, however, we are calling for the lowest hourly rate of pay for any employee on the Camden contract to be no less than £8.80, the London Living Wage (LLW) announced on 1st November 2013. As you are presumably aware, this rate has been independently determined at the behest of the Greater London Authority as the lowest hourly rate of pay required to sustain a decent standard of living in London.
The minimum wage, currently at £6.31 and due to rise to just £6.50 from October, is simply not adequate wage in London, a factor acknowledged by politicians from all the main Parliamentary parties. The impact on living standards is often compounded by the fact that staff often work just 16 hours per week meaning their monthly take home pay is under £400 a month.
In addition, you will presumably also be aware that Camden Council has gained accreditation as a ‘Living Wage’ employer with effect from September 2012 on the basis of its declared commitment to move towards LLW as the basic minimum rate for employees on its outsourced contracts. Indeed, our understanding is that Caterlink has been paying LLW as the minimum hourly rate on the parallel contract it was awarded in 2011 by the neighbouring Islington Council.
We are seeking the introduction of the £8.80 an hour minimum rate backdated from 1st April 2014.
Covering More Senior Duties & Training
We want Caterlink to pay any member of staff who covers for an absent colleague who has more senior duties to be paid the same rate as paid to the senior employee whilst undertaking those her/his duties. When this happens, the member is effectively ensuring the company delivers its obligations to the client. Such workers are taking on additional responsibilities for that period of time, but currently are paid no extra for taking on these duties.
Staff must be paid any additional travelling expenses (bus or tube fare) to get to any kitchen/canteen where they are not usually assigned to work.
Any periods when staff are undertaking training for their work in the company, either to update skills required for their existing post or to allow them to progress to another post within the company, will be paid at their current rate of pay. If the training takes them over 8 hours in a day or is organised at a weekend, then this will be paid at overtime rates.

Annual Working Weeks

To avoid any further confusion, all staff working within the contract will work for 39 weeks. This covers all the days that meals are required to be provided to children and the INSET days for teachers. On those days when meals are not provided for children, staff will be expected to either receive training or ‘deep clean’ the facilities. This will be done within the normal working hours they are normally expected to work that day. They may, by agreement, be assigned other duties. On these days they will be paid their normal days salary.

Annual Leave Entitlement
We want the minimum entitlement to annual leave to rise to 22 days plus public and bank holidays as a basic with an increase by a further 5 days after 5 years of continuous service. This brings the leave entitlement broadly into line with Local Authority conditions.
We recognise that any increase in leave will not increase the amount of time off as these staff will still have to work the whole term. We also expect this leave to be pro-rated as they do not work the full calendar year, but for 38 weeks.

Absence for Sickness
Staff will be paid from the first day of sickness absence as long as they notify to the company in line with the company’s written procedures. If not initially in compliance, then the employee would be paid from the first day that s/he has complied with the notification procedures.
Sickness pay will be paid on the following basis:
Employees are entitled to receive sick pay for the following periods:
During 1st year of service 1 month’s full pay and (after completing 4 months service)
2 months half pay
During 2nd year of service 2 months full pay and 2 months half pay
During 3rd year of service 4 months full pay and 4 months half pay
During 4th and 5th year of service 5 months full pay and 5 months half pay
After 5 years service 6 months full pay and 6 months half pay
Any paid sickness absence in the previous 12 months will be deducted from the above entitlement.
Any employee whose sickness absence has resulted from an injury or disease contracted whilst at work will be paid up to 12 months. This will be providing the employee has not been negligent or acted in a manner that is in breach of relevant Health & Safety legislation or against explicit company policy that caused the accident to take place.
Any absence incurred in this way shall not be counted against any entitlements to sick pay that was not contracted at work.


Add a new line into the overtime provisions in the contract: All overtime will be authorised in writing prior to the employee undertaking the additional work. Overtime will be paid within the month it is claimed.
Finally, we would like to arrange discussions about this claim as soon as possible in the hope of reaching an agreement and moving swiftly to implement it.

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