Sussex Uni SU calls for ’emergency assembly’ following news of mass catering cuts

The emergency assembly is set to happen today at 2pm

University catering staff under Sussex Food were recently told that over 70 per cent of them are ‘at risk’ of losing their job before Christmas.

Following on from this news, the staff ‘at risk’ of redundancy are petitioning to save their jobs.

The University of Sussex Student’s Union has also called for an ’emergency assembly’ today at 2pm.

An employee who wished to remain anonymous spoke with The Argus. They revealed that there are fears amongst some staff members that they won’t be able to reach their mortgage payments.

They stated: “We have been told that out of 55 people currently working in the Compass’ outlets in the University of Sussex campus, 39 will be left without income just before Christmas. This means long-term staff who have worked for 10-15 years in these sites, who know their clientele intimately and who experience of a wide variety of tasks, will be replaced by staff who have probably never been to any of the sites.”

“Some staff are scared how they will pay the mortgage next month, others believe that they do not even have a chance on the job market because of their age.”

A spokesperson from Chartwells told The Argus: “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.

One spokesperson from The University of Sussex said: “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’re doing everything we can to boost sales at the catering outlets on campus, including subsidising some of the food offerings.

“As a result of the pandemic Chartwells has seen a 90 per cent reduction in demand for catering on campus compared to last year. This is unfortunately reflective of a wider contraction of catering hospitality in all corners of the UK. We are working closely with our partner during this extremely difficult time for everybody involved.

“We are assured that the sector leading and crucial support that we are committed to providing for our self-isolating students, and students on campus in general, will not be impacted as a result of this process.”

You can find the petition here.

As well as signing the petition, there is an emergency assembly online which is being hosted by the Student’s Union at 2pm. More details about this event can be seen here.