Kitchen staff at a £17,000 per year private school in Lee have announced strike action throughout September and October in a row over back-pay.

Five staff members at Colfe’s School, who are employed by CH&Co Catering Ltd, claim they have each missed out on £5,000 of pay over the last 10 years.

The kitchen workers allege they have not been paid for two weeks each year over the last decade and are demanding to be repaid £5,000 each.

The walkouts will take place on September 23 for 48 hours, September 30 for 72 hours and October 7 for another 48 hours.

Colfe’s School fees range from £13,167 per year for Nursery and Reception and £17,604 for secondary school.

Onay Kasab, regional officer at Unite union, said: “Our members are angry that they been cheated continuously of their rightful pay over the past decade.

“These long-serving and dedicated kitchen staff have been underpaid by an estimated £5,000 plus for each individual over that time.

“In addition, the company has now proposed to reduce the number of weeks it pays the kitchen staff by a further two weeks per year from 42 to 40. They work 20 hours a week.”

He called on CH & Co Catering Ltd to pay the money back to and bring kitchen staff in-house.

Kasab added: “There is a sour taste in the mouth between the low wages that our members receive and the high fees that are paid to attend this elite institution.”

A Colfe’s spokeswoman said the school will not intervene in the dispute between workers and CH & Co Ltd as it is not the direct employer of the kitchen staff but added: “We will nonetheless continue to discuss the concerns raised with CH & Co.”

A CH & Co spokeswoman said: “We are working with Unite as we are keen to resolve this situation. We are currently waiting on information from Unite and once we receive this, we hope to reach a swift and satisfactory conclusion.”