BaxterStorey has come under fire from catering staff at Nestlé over escalated travel costs that will be incurred when the firm relocates to Gatwick on Monday.
The independent caterer will commence its contract to operate the staff restaurant at Nestlé's new premises on 1 October. At the same time, a team of 17 catering staff will transfer to BaxterStorey's employment from incumbent operator ISS.
The catering staff are in dispute with their new employer because they say they will be forced to pay more than £2,500 in travel bills and that BaxterStorey has told them they will be dismissed without redundancy pay if they do not relocate to the new premises.
However, the situation is a particularly unusual one as contracts very rarely change hands on the same day that clients relocate to new premises.
John Bennett, co-chief executive at BaxterStorey, told Caterer and Hotelkeeper that the situation was unusually complex, adding: "We're in the process of trying to resolve things and hopefully we can reach a conclusion with everybody to their mutual satisfaction early next week."
An un-named member of the catering team told the Croydon Advertiser: "When we took these positions we took them based on the location. Now we're being asked to transfer 20 miles away.
"Some of the team physically can't do the journey because of childcare issues. We're going to be leaving home earlier, coming home later, and getting less pay. There's been this PR gloss about the wonderful building they're moving to, but we're going to lose £2,500. We have members of staff that have been here 25 years."
Nick Day, organising officer at the GMB union, which has requested an urgent meeting with BaxterStorey, said: "It is an absolute disgrace that low-paid female workers are to be moved to a site 20 miles away at a cost to themselves of over £2,500 per year. Indeed, many will incur a childcare cost due to the extra travel time."
Nestlé announced in January that it was leaving Croydon after 45 years, moving its headquarters to new premises close to Gatwick Airport. A spokesman from the food manufacturer said: "As this is a matter between ISS and BaxterStorey we are unable to comment."
By Janie Manzoori-Stamford
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