Bosses at Barts Health NHS Trust should step in, after outsourced caterer Elior told about 100 staff that they will be sacked, despite their hard work during the pandemic.

Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest union, said today (Tuesday 28 July) that 30 of its members at the trust employed by Elior are devastated, after nearly half of them were told they would lose their jobs and those remaining will have their hours cut by 10 per cent.

Unite has told the trust management that it wants its members redeployed within the trust that covers four major hospital sites in London, serving 2.5 million people.

Unite, once again, highlighted the flawed nature of NHS privatisation; as Elior, which runs the restaurants and coffee shops, is sacking staff, another outsourcer Serco, which supplies meals to patients on the wards, is currently recruiting.

Unite regional officer Ruth Hydon said: “The trust management needs to step in urgently to save the jobs of our hardworking members, who have fed NHS staff day and night during this pandemic.

“It is a disgrace that the trust is allowing profit-hungry Elior to throw our members on the scrapheap after all they have done. Some of our members have worked at the Barts trust for nearly 30 years – and this is very shabby reward for their loyalty.

“The situation makes a nonsense of NHS privatisation. While Elior is making catering staff redundant, another outsourcer Serco is recruiting the same staff – this is another example of what is happening in the Alice in Wonderland world of NHS privatisation.

“Unite is demanding that the trust takes responsibility to ensure all of our members are redeployed to other roles at the trust which we think is very feasible as it covers a number of major sites across east London.

“The trust was paying the wages of Elior staff during the pandemic, but that stopped abruptly when meals for NHS staff were no longer ‘free’. Now that meals are again being charged for, Elior wasted no time in asking our members to bear the brunt of this dip in its profits.

“Barts should not be allowing these precarious and exploitative contracts to be used in NHS hospitals to hike-up the profits of private companies – there needs to be a serious rethink by management about getting rid of these outsourcing contracts once-and-for-all.”


Notes to editors:

For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940. Unite press office is on:  020 3371 2065.

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Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.