Camden UNISON newsletter for Caterlink staff #01

Camden UNISON has produced a new newsletter for Camden Caterlink workers. This issue, from July 2014, has an update from our meeting with management about the living wage pay claim, INSET days, sick pay and holiday pay, other living wage campaigns and more.

Below is the main article from the newsletter, with an update following discussions with management last month.

Living wage pay claim update

UNISON representatives met with Caterlink senior management and HR in June to discuss the pay claim, including the living wage, which was agreed by a mass meeting of Caterlink members earlier in the year (which is viewable on the Caterlink section of our website at

Here is an update of the different areas which were discussed:


Caterlink did not agree to increase salaries to at least a level of the London living wage of £8.80 per hour, as requested by UNISON. However, they did state that following receipt of the claim they were looking to give pay increases, and to increase the lowest salaries to a level above the minimum wage for the first time. We are waiting further information on this and will report back to members in due course.

Caterlink also informed us that they had repeatedly presented budgets to Camden council based on paying the London living wage or not, and the council had each year opted for the cheaper option. UNISON has requested evidence of this to review.

Covering more senior duties

We demanded that Caterlink pay higher hourly rates to those workers covering more senior duties, such as chef duties.

Interestingly, Caterlink stated that it is their policy already to pay people the rate for the more senior post if they are covering it. However it is clear to us that this has not been happening. So individuals who have done this in the past should let the union know (our contact details are below) so we can raise backpay claims for you. Nonmembers who have covered more senior duties can join UNISON and we can raise a claim for you as well.

Payment for INSET days

UNISON demanded that kitchen workers be paid for the five INSET days most of you work each year, and that workers not have their pay docked for not working them.

Again, interestingly Caterlink stated that according to their policy staff should be paid for working INSET days. For people to get paid they informed us that chefs should mark hours on INSET days worked on timesheets as overtime – although it seems as if they have not informed chefs of this. They also stated that workers should not have their pay docked for not working them, unless they are on a 39 week contract (like chefs). When we brought up the letters which workers were asked to sign stating they would work on INSET days or have their pay docked, they said that these letters were only meant for workers like chefs on 39 week contracts.

It is our view that these procedures are not being followed properly, and we are taking forward backpay claims for all UNISON members who either were not paid INSET days, or who had their pay docked for not working them. If you are in this situation make sure that you inform the union so we are aware. We will be taking forward backpay claims for members on a school by school basis. Nonmembers can join UNISON today and we can claim for you as well.

Annual leave

Our claim was for an increase in annual leave 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, paid pro rata. This would bring the leave entitlement broadly into line with council conditions. Caterlink management stated they would explore this and get back to us.

Sick pay

Our claim was for sick pay to be paid from the first day of absence, and for it to be increased to match sick pay for council workers, i.e. up to 6 months full pay and 6 months half pay after 5 years’ service. Caterlink stated that this would be “unaffordable”, but would get back to us.

In our claim we also requested up to 12 months sick pay for workers injured at work. UNISON has achieved sick pay for members injured at work in the past but on a discretionary basis so we want this to be written into the terms and conditions for all. Management did not agree to this at the meeting but said they would get back to us.


We also raised the issue of people receiving delayed overtime payments, or sometimes not receiving them at all. Management stated that due to their payroll system, overtime they were notified of after about the 2nd of each month was not paid till the following month. And that around Christmas last year the payroll deadline was even earlier hence some people received theirs quite late. Also they said that overtime payments had to be signed off by management before being paid, so if this doesn’t occur quickly payments can been delayed. We would advise members to keep a note of the overtime hours you work, and let us know if delays in overtime payment continue. We will keep you updated if any changes are agreed in this area.

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