CUPE decries cuts in food services at area schools

Thursday, December 06, 2012   by: Kate Adams********************

Parents and students will be left hanging, with no real food in the cafeteria, after the Near North District School Board decided to cut food services effective December 18, because no new contractor came forward in their tender process.

“It really is a shame for our schools to abandon healthy food services, because they say they can’t make a profit,” says CUPE National Representative Monique Drapeau. “Instead of forcing families to scramble and make their own arrangements, why not directly hire the food service workers and provide cafeteria services directly as a school board, eliminating the profit motive altogether.”

The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), representing soon-to-be laid-off food service workers employed by Aramark, is calling on the Board to bring back those services in-house, and directly hire displaced workers to provide cafeteria services in affected schools.

“Questions remain unanswered about severance pay for these workers. While the workers’ future is uncertain, food services for students in the schools will be lost – the board needs to take responsibility for this, and rectify the situation,” said Drapeau. “Instead of leaving the workers and parents hanging, the school board should take the bull by the horns and provide in-house food services, and protect students, workers and the local economy.”

“We’re calling on parents to contact their school trustees,” said Drapeau. “Tell them to put healthy food back in our schools, and hire local people to provide the service directly. The profit-making motive, which in this case led to a total loss of cafeteria services, has no place in our schools.”

The following schools are affected: Parry Sound High School, W.J. Fricker School, Widdifield Secondary School, Northern Secondary School, Almaguin Highlands Secondary School, Chippewa Secondary School, and West Ferris Secondary School.

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