Ministry's Statement On School Meals Dept

A little over a year ago, staff from three centres of the School Meals Department (SMD), – Lancaster, St. James; Country Road, St. Michael; and Harbour Road, St. Michael – expressed concerns about their safety and security following the end of their 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. shift. 

It must be noted that the only centre from which no complaint was made regarding the 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. shift was the St. Christopher Centre in Christ Church. 

The employees from the three centres drew to the attention of the supervisory staff that after 6:00 p.m., the Lancaster area becomes dark and lonely as it is not well lit; the Harbour Road was also lonely and desolate, while at Country Road, there were other issues, including assaults on one employee.

The supervisors at the centres noted the complaints and made representation to management regarding the issues. Management decided that in light of these complaints, it would be better to change the 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. shift to a 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. shift. 

The decision on the change in timing was made at the beginning of this school term during the usual supervisory meeting. It seemed as though, however, that some SMD employees were not in favour of the changed hours from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. 

Management of the SMD felt that they were accommodating the request of the supervisors at the three centres. However, given the dissatisfaction expressed by some workers, who seem to prefer working from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., management, in consultation with the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation, has agreed that staff would revert to the original time.