On Thursday, 29th September, 2022, the head teacher of Arapaima Primary School angrily barged into the hotmeal kitchen after lunch was shared, demanding from the head cook why meals were short for some pupils. The head cook tried to explain to the teacher that no totals were brought so cooks had to work without knowing the day’s attendance. This happens almost everyday! A young cook voiced her opinion by agreeing with the head cook, the head teacher quickly and angrily responded ”Your opinion is not important!” And told the young cook to shut up. An argument ensued causing the H.M to angrily tell the young staff not to return to work (because according to him, she was very rude).
The young cook (name supplied) however returned to work the next day Friday 30th. The H.M came to the kitchen without saying a word, but later in the day the hot meal treasurer told the head cook that the head teacher instructed her not to pay the young cook if she returns to work!
Sir/Madam, this is not the first time the young cook has been subjected to verbal and emotional abuse by this head teacher.
Once in August, the head cook was invited to a hotmeal workshop and was instructed to bring a fellow colleague along. All the other staff was busy so she decided to take the young cook along with her. The H.M was there. On seeing the young cook, he remarked angrily, “You are not supposed to be here! I didn’t invite you! You will not be payed!” The young cook was the only attendee not paid the transportation and dinner fee of $2500.
The Minister of Education announced a Manager’s holiday (by way of letter, which was circulating on social media) for Wednesday 05th October, 2022. All the cooks took theirs on that day. When they returned to work Thursday 06th October, 2022, the head teacher announced to them that the school will take their holiday on Friday 07th October, 2022. No prior consultation with kitchen staff or communication from school body!
We know it can be dangerous for one man to make all the decisions. Not so with this head teacher. Most of the decisions for the hotmeal program is made by him, without the input of the kitchen staff or the rest of the hotmeal committee. Even in meeting the suggestions of the staff are not sought for or are turned down for a seemingly better idea. Nothing, nothing is put to a vote. Everything is dedicated, slammed down hot, even if the kitchen staff disagrees.
Sir/Madam, we the cooks of this hotmeal program request a prompt and non-partisan investigation into this tyrannical confusion.
Finally, we strongly petition the relevant authorities, by way of this letter for an increase of our pay, at least the equivalent of the minimum wage. We have suffered long enough with this present meager income, which is not even enough to pay for our basic necessities at the end of the week. The time after work each day is not enough to do a second job to supplement our small income of a little over $40, 000 per month. The time runs out so quickly, We are doing a full-time job here!
Sir/Madam, we request an urgent answer to these problems facing us and lasting resolution to this crisis.
We look forward to your prompt actions.
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