Railway news

Government urged to reverse decision to axe on-board catering at rail firm

Railway news

Union leaders have attacked a decision to end an on-board catering contract at a train operator, threatening the loss of 130 jobs in the new year.

The Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) has written to the Government urging it to intervene to reverse the decision, affecting staff at contractors Elior on South Western Railway (SWR).

Staff have been told they are due to be made redundant on January 17, said the union.

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General secretary Mick Cash said: “South Western Railway’s decision to axe its on-board catering provision is short-sighted and will undoubtedly worsen the passenger experience.

“Axing this vital service is completely at odds with the need to restore passenger confidence in the railway.

“There are now over 130 workers who unexpectedly face the prospect of losing their job come January 2021.

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“SWR’s operations are being fully funded by the Department for Transport with public money, and the Government cannot sit by and allow it to treat catering workers and passengers with contempt.

“RMT is demanding that this decision is reversed and all jobs are protected.”

A spokesman for SWR said: “It is with regret that, following consultation with our passengers and the Department for Transport, we have had to terminate our contract with commercial catering company, Elior, as COVID-19 has made on-train catering services unsustainable due to falling passenger numbers.

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“We will work with the company to ensure our vacancy lists are made available to any Elior employees affected by this decision.”

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Sam Hewitt