Fife school dinner ladies fear catching Covid-19 after being instructed to work this week, despite having no-one to feed.
Although schools remained closed to pupils under lockdown rules, kitchen staff were told to turn up on Wednesday as normal.
They claim they were put at “great risk” by Fife Council for no clear reason.
Some teachers and other staff were the only people in the buildings, with vulnerable children and the children of keyworkers returning on Thursday.
Fife Council said it had not known how many children it would be preparing for.
Catering rotas will be adjusted over the next few days.
North East Fife Liberal Democrat MSP Willie Rennie described the situation as “extraordinary”.
One worker said: “I work in the kitchen of a large high school in Fife and have returned to work in the kitchen with 14 other colleagues.
“After chatting with my colleagues today, the overall opinion seemed to be that with the current lockdown guidelines, should we have all been made to turn up for work in an enclosed environment when there was nothing to do and no-one to cater for?
“I feel that all that has happened is we have all been put at great risk of catching the new, more transmissible, strain of Covid for no clear reason.”
The woman added: “The number of young people we will be catering for will be greatly reduced and the work can be done with a fraction of the staff working on a rota basis so as to protect ourselves and each other.
“Why would the person in charge of these council decisions not see this and make arrangements when the announcement was first made at the start of the week?”
She said kitchen staff had voiced concerns to supervisors.
“I’m not sure if things will change but it will be too late for the ones that have now been exposed to others in the kitchen,” she said.
“The focus seems to be that as we are getting paid and cannot work from home then we should attend work regardless of the safety concerns or the stay at home order given out by the First Minister this week.”
Mr Rennie said: “When workers are being instructed by the government to stay at home it seems extraordinary that school kitchen staff are being instructed to turn up to work when there is no-one to feed.
“The council need to fully explain why this happened, why staff were not advised why they had to be at work and whether this will happen again.
“I appreciate that things are moving fast with the advance of the new strain of the virus but the default should be for staff to stay at home to keep them safe and to limit the spread of the virus.”
Senior manager Tariq Ditta confirmed school catering staff were asked to carry out preparatory work on Wednesday.
“This was to get ready for the children and teachers who would be returning on Thursday,” he said.
“Until we were clear on the numbers of children attending school, and the demand for school meals, we asked catering staff to come to work as normal, following public health guidance.
“Over the next few days we will adjust numbers to meet demand and appropriate rota systems will be put in place.”
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