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Hospital canteen cuts may lead to 30 job losses
5:15pm Friday 1st March 2013 in Local
UP to 30 restaurant staff at Dudley's Russells Hall Hospital may lose their jobs as part of cost-saving cuts to canteen opening hours.
Workers in the restaurant, near the main hospital entrance, fear up to 30 staff members out of a total 64 could lose their jobs by April 1 as part of plans to reduce weekday opening hours and close the facility altogether on weekends.
The canteen, run by Interserve, currently opens to staff and visitors from 7am to 8pm every day but under proposals that would save the Trust £110,000 a year it would be closed on weekends and would open from 7am to 2.30pm in the week.
Tracy Wood, UNISON regional organiser, said ‘ We are extremely disappointed that Interserve have decided to take this decision, we assume it is due to a reduction in finances paid to them by the NHS trust.
“We will support and advise our UNISON members in the coming weeks and work with the employer to try and minimise job losses.
“Every one of these hardworking staff will have a home or a family to support and this couldn’t have come at a worse time.
“David Cameron said he would protect the NHS, but this is a direct cut to services provided. Not only will the decision result in job losses but hardworking NHS staff and visitors won’t be able to purchase a freshly cooked hot meal on site after 2.30pm.
“The hospital has also moved staff to working 12-hour shifts and it is important when providing high quality, high standard care that staff have adequate breaks and care for their own health and wellbeing. These changes would make it much more difficult for staff or visitors on site after 2.30pm.”
Trust chief executive Paula Clark said the proposal forms part of plans to help the Trust save £15million over the next financial year.
She said: “We are working with Interserve to widen the range of food available to include hot snacks, soups and salads. To ensure provision of both hot and cold food and drinks 24 hours per day, the vending facilities remain unchanged.
“The decision follows a comprehensive review of usage through the restaurant, which concluded there was very little footfall after the lunch time service and the uptake at weekends has reduced considerably. The seating area will be open for staff who wish to take breaks.”
A spokesman for Interserve confirmed 64 full and part-time employees may be affected by the changes and said a 30-day consultation was underway.
She added: “Interserve is committed to supporting its staff during this difficult time and will be working with any affected employees to find alternative job opportunities wherever possible.
“There are already a number of existing vacancies in other areas of service delivery at the hospital and Interserve will deploy as many employees as possible to alternative positions.”