UNISON Ealing branch are celebrating after securing a 21.7% pay rise for 300 staff working under the Ealing schools catering contract.
In December 2020, it came to light that the vast majority of the 300 staff who work under the Ealing schools catering contract in around 55 primary schools are paid below the London living wage (£10.85 an hour). This is despite the fact Ealing Council has been a living wage employer since 2013 who are obliged to ensure any third party providers pay at least the London living wage.
After 6 months of negotiations with Ealing Council, as well as writing to schools, councillors, MPs, the Mayor’s office, the living wage foundation and speaking with the media, Ealing UNISON received confirmation yesterday from the Leader of the Council, Julian Bell, that all 300+ staff who work to deliver school meals in Ealing maintained schools will receive a minimum of £10.85 an hour from 1st August 2021. This coincides with the start of the new 5 year catering contract.
The majority of the 300 staff under the contract earn the minimum wage. An increase to the London living wage (£10.85 an hour) from the national minimum wage (£8.91 an hour) is an hourly pay rise of £1.94 an hour. This is a 21.7% pay rise.
It also means that the 300 staff working under the Ealing Schools Catering contract will collectively earn an additional £1.5 million a year.
There are still many other members and employees of private companies who provide public services across Ealing such as health and social care and cleaning who do not receive the London living wage. Ealing UNISON will push forward to make sure that Ealing Council ensures all staff who provide public services in the borough get a fair wage, and that all staff who work in Ealing Schools earn at least £10.85 an hour.
Further meetings with Ealing Council will be taking place, to discuss the precise contractual arrangements of the new catering contract and to continue to hold the council to account and work with them for fair terms and conditions of employment for all.
Well done all involved!