UTSC Students Starve as University Refuses to Take Action on Labour Disputes

TORONTO, March 14, 2017 /CNW/ - Students from the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus are bearing the brunt of Aramark's lack of action in addressing the concerns of the cafeteria workers. This has led to closure of food vendors and reduced hours of operation of food services on campus, which has left many students without adequate access to food. This has further contributed to the current food insecurity faced by post-secondary students. A recent report, from Meal Exchange called Hungry from Knowledge, showed that 40% of post-secondary students experienced some degree of food insecurity over the past year.

Over the past several weeks, cafeteria workers at UTSC have been on strike calling for living wages and decent health and retirement benefits. Aramark, a subcontractor that runs the majority of food service operations at UTSC, currently pays unfair wages and provides substandard benefits in comparison with their St. George counterparts. While Aramark workers at UTSC generally earn about $11.50 per hour, St. George workers could expect wages between $18-20 per hour.

Recently, Aramark workers at York University have seen a victory and reached an agreement for $15 minimum wage for all workers within a year. In addition to equal health benefits for part-time workers. Unfortunately, workers at the Scarborough Campus continue to be treated as second-class.

"The strike needs urgent attention of the authorities considering the winter weather conditions further restrict food options of the residence students," said Nikita Roy, a residence student at UTSC. "The residence students have purchased meal plans based on the understanding that there will be food options available without any interruptions, and if the university can't provide that, students should be compensated."

"Recent statements from the University Administration have stressed that the University is not involved in the labour dispute. However, when students go hungry because they have failed to take a stance, it is the University's problem," said Thomas Wood, Vice President of Academics and University Affairs. "U of T has a responsibility to mediate an equitable resolution that ensures that workers have living wage and students have access to adequate food services."

The Scarborough Campus Students' Union represents over 13,000 full-time and part-time undergraduate students at the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus.

SOURCE Scarborough Campus Students' Union

For further information: Sitharsana Srithas, Vice President External, at 647-760-9272 (cell) or external@scsu.ca; Thomas Woods, Vice President Academics and University Affairs, at 289-338-8667 (cell) or academics@scsu.ca.

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Scarborough Campus Students' Union

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