NON-PAYMENT of Dorset school meal deliverers has been blamed on “administrative discrepancies” by their employer.

The contract for GV Group to transport food on behalf of Chartwells began earlier this year but employees have complained of various payment issues.

An employee of the firm, who did not wish to be named, warned that thousands of children could be left without meals if the problems persevered.

“It seems that GV Group is having financial problems,” they said. “They haven’t paid all employees on its first month running the transport side of the Chartwells contract.

“Secondly, when one of the drivers has put fuel in their van and gone to pay with the fuel card, the driver has been held at the petrol station as the card has been cancelled due to the non-payment to petrol stations from GV Group.”

They added that, in the second month, employees were only paid about two-thirds of what they should have been.

“Unhappy with the lack of payments, some of the drivers have carried out a strike until payment was made, the strike only lasted two hours until the managing director of Chartwells got involved as they saw that the drivers where dead serious about not delivering the school meals,” they added.

“If GV Group fails with next payment there is a big possibility that thousands of children across Dorset will not have their food until full payment is made.”

Chartwells’ £3.5m contract to provide school meals in Dorset started off in turmoil with its managing director, Robin Mills, apologising for issues delivering school meals in 2014.

Dorset County Council was criticised for not splitting the contract into smaller pieces. Earlier this year, Chartwells appointed GV Group to manage the delivery of its meals across the county.

In a statement, GV Group said that there was “no risk” to it delivering the contract, blaming “administrative discrepancies” for the issues.

“Since taking over the contract we experienced administrative discrepancies in relation to a small number of staff in the handover process,” the statement says. “We worked to rectify these as quickly and efficiently as possible with those affected now up to date.

“As such, there is no risk to the servicing of this contract and the children whose food we pride ourselves on delivering on a daily basis.

“We service a wide range of contracts across the country and take our responsibility to our team and the communities we serve incredibly seriously; something that we will continue to demonstrate in Dorset and beyond.”