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Hull dinner ladies protest against loss of week's pay from outsourcer
Janet Gibson, Hull Socialist Party
A walkout protest by school catering staff at Winifred Holtby School in Hull took place on 29 April, against outsourcing firm ISS's proposed delay to wage payment. (See also 'Arriva Rail North cleaners fight bosses' punitive pay arrears'.)
Two other schools, Tweendykes and Kingswood, also took part. After joining the Winifred Holtby protest, I was told by one dinner lady that they face a week's loss in pay, from a four-day delay due to changes in their payment schedule.
The offer of a loan from ISS will see future wages docked from pay packets if accepted. And any acceptance of a loan could be perceived as legal acceptance of the change in the contract.
Horns hooted, and residents and friends stopped to ask about the protest. GMB union placards and flags greeted a surge of secondary students leaving school. Some approached a GMB official, asking "what can we do to help?"
We say that school meals must be taken back in-house, under democratic local authority control. In fact, the whole education system should be fully in the public sector, under the democratic control and management of school staff, students and the working class.
The dinner ladies have given school students their first experience of trade union action. Jeremy Corbyn and the union leaders should follow their example, and call mass action now against school cuts and outsourcing, for a £10-an-hour minimum wage - and a general election now.
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