To All Rail Gourmet Members (Transpennine Express Contract)

Our Ref: HC/5/6

20th March 2020

Dear Colleague


Following members raising concerns in relation to the above matter, I can now advise you that your Lead Officer has made contact with Rail Gourmet and a telephone conference with senior management took place on Thursday afternoon.

Rail Gourmet advised that on Wednesday TPE had suspended all on train catering operations. Rail Gourmet is part of the SSP group which has laid off over three thousand staff, including many in the rail industry. As an alternative to laying staff off, a temporary agreement has been reached with TPE in that Rail Gourmet staff will be stood down from their normal duties and rosters and will be redeployed onto cleaning duties, as follows:

Service Centre

Staff will be deployed onto the task of “Deep cleaning” the service centre.

On-Board Customer Hosts

Staff will be redeployed to work alongside and supplement our MITIE cleaning staff in carrying out cleaning and disinfecting duties on TPE trains. This will be led by MITIE and they will carry out all inductions, oversee the work and issue PPE. All staff must be issued with the same PPE that MITIE staff have for performing the role.

Sick Pay

As things stand there is 12 staff that are self isolating because they are in the High Risk category, such as pregnancy or have shown signs of the symptoms of Covid-19 virus. Rail Gourmet has confirmed that they do not pay any company sick pay and that staff will be paid statutory sick pay from day one.

Your union has already approached TPE as the client, seeking assurances from them to fund and support a basic pay sick pay arrangement during the crisis, this was declined.

Future Arrangements

Regrettably, the situation is as fluid as many others in the industry at the moment. However, in the case of this operation, it is additionally complicated by the fact that Rail Gourmets current contract with TPE ends on the 31st March 2020.

The RMT has agreed to regular contact with Rail Gourmet on this contract and I will, of course, keep members fully advised on all developments.

Best wishes.

Mick Cash
General Secretary