University of Hertfordshire redundancy plans a raw deal for staff and students

Plans to sack nearly half of the caterers at the University of Hertfordshire because of Covid-19 are a raw deal for staff and students alike, UNISON warns today.

Contractor Aramark is planning major cuts in catering operations because of Covid-19 and last week informed staff that they are at risk of redundancy, suggesting 46 of the 93 workers will lose their jobs.

But UNISON says it is too early to even be thinking about cuts. 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.

Catering staff were told their jobs where 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.”