30 March 2020
RMT Press Office:
RMT demands urgent support for rail caterers after workers are abandoned by their employer Select Service Partner
RAIL UNION RMT is demanding that immediate action is taken to support the industry’s outsourced caterers, who work across the railway in station outlets such as Ritazza and Upper Crust, who have been left high and dry by their employer, Select Service Partner (SSP), during the Coronavirus crisis.
RMT has spent weeks attempting to work with SSP, to ensure their workers would be protected during this period of uncertainty, with the company totally unwilling to engage.
In a particularly heartless step, SSP workers were given just a day’s notice that they were being ‘laid off’ and that their company does not plan to pay them until the Government’s Job Retention Scheme is operational.
Caterers are some of the lowest paid workers on the railway, and SSP’s workers now have no idea how they will manage financially until the Government scheme is in force.
In contrast an agreement has been reached by the Rail Industry Coronavirus Forum which guarantees that rail caterers who are directly contracted by Train Companies, such as on-train caterers, will be paid 80% of their normal salary by their employer. SSP subsidiary, Rail Gourmet, is included in this agreement.
That SSP has so far refused the same protection for its other workers is a gross injustice. RMT is calling on Government to ensure that these workers receive the same protections during these uncertain time.
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:
“In an outrageous show of contempt for their hard working employees, SSP has chosen to protect its own interests rather than support its low paid workers during this crisis. This is the textbook definition of a ‘bad boss’.
"SSP workers now have no idea how they will pay their bills and make ends meet until the Government’s scheme is operational.
"Staff employed at one of SSP’s subsidiaries, Rail Gourmet, now have security that 80% of their income will be paid by their employer during this time. This must be extended to all of SSP’s rail caterers as a matter of urgency.
"SSP has contracts at stations managed by Network Rail or Train Operating Companies, and these companies should be demanding it protects its workers.
"That SSP has so far refused to protect its workers during this period of uncertainty proves once and for all that their time on the rail industry is up and their workers should be brought in-house, to ensure receive the basic protections that they deserve.”