The last big outsourcing took place in April 2016.
Education and Catering Services were outsourced to Mott MacDonald who transferred the services to Cambridge Education. Cambridge Education sub-contracted Catering Services to global giant ISS.
At the time of the award of the contract it was very clear that the Council was moving all of its staff, who would need a café based inside, to the new £50 plus million building in Colindale.
What happened next is yet another example of how you lose all control by outsourcing.
For some reason Barnet Council said it did not want the same service it had in the Atrium and wanted to hand it over to a franchise……Costa Coffee. ISS was to sort out the franchise and run a Costa Coffee inside the new Colindale office.
Who or why this was agreed we don’t know – it’s important to note there are loads of Costa Coffee shops around Colindale.
All our members were told by ISS that they would receive Costa Coffee training in readiness for the move to Colindale in June 2019.
That’s right, June 2019.
Then it all went quiet, staff started moving and the ‘white elephant’ – the lack of a café – became more apparent as the building started to fill up.
‘It would all be ready after the summer.’
No, it wasn’t, and the news was worse.
ISS was not going to provide a service.
Barnet UNISON said “let’s run an in-house service”.
We were ignored.
Barnet Council went out to find a contractor to run a café in the Colindale office.
Bad news for our members
Barnet Council has failed to secure a contractor to run a café in Colindale office. We have been told that the Council is going back out to see if it can secure a contractor but time is running out. The Atrium service will close March 2020. This will give very little time to find another employer and then TUPE transfer staff to the new employer.
Yesterday Barnet UNISON had the unpleasant task of speaking to all of our members in the Atrium café in North London Business Park (also known as the staff canteen) to alert them to the very real risk of redundancy due to this news.
Outsourcing v In-House
Outsourcing has failed our low paid members and it has failed the staff who work in Colindale. The importance of a staff canteen is that it provides a space away from your desk to de-stress and meet up with work colleagues. It’s a space that helps promote mental health and wellbeing.
Barnet UNISON has formally written to Cambridge Education to hold ISS to the contract and ask them to provide a café service in NLBP.
What we do know is that if Catering had remained in-house there would already be a café in Colindale, just as it was ready when all the staff finally moved to North London Business Park.
Solidarity for our UNISON Atrium members.
More on this later in 2020.