EXCLUSIVE: 92 per cent of Sussex Food staff ‘at risk’ with job cuts

51 out of 55 staff members are at risk of reduction

In an announcement to Sussex Food staff, management have revealed that 92 per cent of them are currently “at risk” of being made redundant.

The risk of 92 per cent of Sussex Food staff being made redundant has been proposed by Chartwells Higher Education, the company that manages Sussex Food, despite Sussex Food catering for the self-isolating students on campus.

These proposed changes to staffing structure were recently announced earlier this month. Chartwells have made it clear that their business has been heavily affected by COVID-19 and business has either stopped or dramatically reduced across many sectors. This has resulted in 39 positions being proposed for reduction within Sussex Food, with as many as 51 positions at risk.

Whilst presenting the staffing restructure, they also informed Sussex Food staff of the reasoning behind their decision. It was mentioned that Chartwells are expecting cafe sales to decrease by 75 per cent, however it could also be anywhere from 90 to 95 per cent.

They also mentioned the impact they have had from students not returning to University, there are less students in accommodation and with most courses online there will be even less students coming to campus and using the facilities. They are also aware of the risk that the summer schools might not take place for the second year in a row at Sussex.

There are currently 55 positions taken up at Sussex Food and 51 one of those are currently “at risk” of removal. They are first accepting applications for voluntary redundancy but if applications aren’t successful then they will undertake selection process based on performance, relevant skills, experience, disciplinary warnings, attendance, and time keeping. The formal notification to all employees who are going to be removed is happening on November 17.

A spokesperson from Chartwells told The Sussex Tab that putting 92 per cent of jobs “at risk” was not an easy choice to make. They stated: “Due to the reduction in demand for catering on campus as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and the introduction of subsequent social distancing requirements, our food service operations have been significantly impacted. While we have worked hard to do all that we can to protect jobs, we have unfortunately had to enter into redundancy consultation with some of our colleagues working across our catering provisions at the University. We have not taken this decision lightly, and we will be providing support to those employees impacted. We remain committed to delivering high-quality food services for students and staff at the university and have developed our offers to ensure we can meet the needs of those who are self-isolating. ”

It is believed that Chartwells may provide new opportunities to the Sussex staff that are at risk of being made redundant.

A spokesperson from The University of Sussex exclusively told The Sussex Tab: “Chartwells staff working in our on-campus catering outlets deserve our sincere appreciation for the professionalism and valuable service they provide at all times, and particularly this past year making sure that our students on campus can get access to nourishing food.

“We know this is a really difficult time for everybody involved and we all hope that normal services can resume as soon as possible.”

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