I feel that it’s important to write to you as the representative union of the vast majority of Tayside Contracts kitchen staff in schools. We represent almost a thousand across Tayside in facilities services.
It is a surprise for us to learn that the reports are going to the Tayside committees with such short notice, and I apologise for how late in the day this letter is.
However, as the representative union GMB, I feel that it is important to highlight some cause for your consideration. It is disappointing to see that there appears to have been no impact assessment carried out due to lack of information, which is a surprise, considering the vast majority of those who work in kitchens are low paid women with part time contracts.
Now, whilst it appears that further posts may be created at a centralised production unit, you must be aware that the part time posts that are currently filled are, as a result of need, particularly for carers. It is inevitable that rural posts will go across Tayside as a result of the centralisation, which will have economic impacts in those areas, as well as on a largely predominantly female part time low paid workforce. The report already suggests that there will be an overall reduction of 9 posts and there is mention that only temporary posts will be provided and due consideration must be given to the women who work in the kitchens in Perth and Kinross, and how the loss of those posts may negatively impact on the local economy.
In addition, there has been no collective bargaining over this with Tayside Contracts and indeed, an email was sent after an article had been published locally. I am aware that NHS Tayside and other councils have also been in contact with Tayside Contracts which will further impact on jobs in other councils and in the NHS.
There has been no consultation with parents. I also fail to understand how their has been no consideration given to environmental pressures when you consider the increase in traffic that this will create.
I would ask that you consider the points that I have raised on behalf of GMB members across Tayside, and whether some reflection is required before agreement is made to progress at such pace. It would also give an opportunity for appropriate consultation with the recognised trade unions, and for us to properly consult with our members.
Posted: 31st January 2019