Sodexo, the multibillion pound, multinational outsourcing giant, plans to cut 30 jobs on its TfL catering contract.
It has been cooking up the cuts (pun intended) since late last year, when it won an extension to its contract. Sodexo bosses say TfL re-tendered the contract on the explicit basis of requiring "efficiencies"; TfL denies having asked its contractors to make cuts.
Tubeworker first reported on the planned cuts, which amounted to the equivalent of 18 positions, in February.
The plans were paused when the pandemic hit, but now Sodexo is using the drop in its revenues caused by Covid as cover to resurrect and expand its cuts plan. It has now upped the number of jobs it plans to cut to 30.
An RMT leaflet for Sodexo workers says: "The cuts they are now proposing are substantially more extensive than those they initially proposed in late 2019/early 2020. We believe the bosses of Sodexo, a multinational corporation that generated €22.0 billion in revenue in 2019, are using the pandemic as a pretext to cut costs.
"Although Sodexo's revenue has taken a hit in the economic downturn since the outbreak of the pandemic, we do not accept their claim that they cannot afford to maintain staffing levels on the TfL contract."
RMT goes on to say: "Sodexo told us that they are open to discussing other ways of managing their proposed job cuts, including the non filling of vacancies and potential voluntary severance schemes. Although RMT will engage in such discussions, our policy is to oppose all job cuts – whether via compulsory redundancy or any other means."
It's good the union is looking to organise a fightback. Any Sodexo workers who aren't yet members of RMT should join now; the more workers on the contract who are collectively organised, the more power they'll have to resist cuts.
Workers in other roles, including LU trains and fleet workers in depots served by the canteens, also need to pressure Sodexo - out of solidarity with our workmates, but also because fewer canteen staff, and less food cooked on-site, will inevitably lead to a drop in the quality of the service.