Dozens of University of Hertfordshire staff at risk of redundancy

PUBLISHED: 07:00 25 August 2020 | UPDATED: 14:23 30 August 2020

The University of Hertfordshire's de Havilland campus in Hatfield

The University of Hertfordshire's de Havilland campus in Hatfield

Photographs copyright © University of Hertfordshire

More than 40 members of the catering staff at the University of Hertfordshire are at risk of redundancy.

Contractor Aramark is planning major cuts in catering operations because of COVID-19 and last week informed staff that 46 jobs are at risk of redundancy according to UNISON.

A spokesperson for Aramark, the University of Hertfordshire’s catering provider, said: “Floorplan restrictions and capacity guidelines mean that a number of our foodservice outlets will be unable to safely open under the current, and foreseeable, COVID-19 guidance.

“This, combined with a significant decrease in campus trading activity, has regrettably put a number of jobs at risk of redundancy.

But UNISON, the largest trade union in the United Kingdom, says it is too early to even be thinking about cuts.

They believe that not only has Aramark made its decision before it has a clear idea of what the demand for services will be next term, but many of the workers are currently furloughed and have their pay covered until at least October.

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Catering staff were told their jobs were at risk on the same day their colleagues were busy with clearing, encouraging more students onto campus, says the union.

Reducing services will hit other staff and students alike, warns UNISON, as anyone on campus will face long waits for food and refreshments.

UNISON Eastern regional organiser Cathrine Ward said: “While most staff are busy doing everything they can to welcome as many students as possible back from September, Aramark is serving up a worse campus experience.

“The firm claims its decision is based on expected catering demand next year but it’s far too early to have a clear picture of what that will be.

“Students have already had to go through the A-level results farce, they shouldn’t face such a raw deal when they arrive on campus.

“The University and Aramark need to do the right thing and scrap these plans.”

In response to the coronavirus pandemic the university will required staff and students to wear face masks in enclosed public spaces.

Speaking in July deputy vice-chancellor at the University of Hertfordshire, Matthew Weait, said: “We have a shared responsibility for the safety of ourselves and each other, and providing face coverings on campus is one of the measures that will help us to do this.”

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