Covid-19 job cuts hit Eurest catering members in BT Buildings

Telecoms & Financial Services, BT, Eurest

Friday 10th July 2020

A major rationalisation of Eurest catering facilities in BT buildings has been announced on the back of a collapse in demand for the services provided.

While the development is not entirely unexpected – with catering activity within BT buildings almost wiped out in a period of widespread homeworking – the CWU has moved swiftly to remind Eurest (Compass Group) of its obligations to consult with the union after members began contacting branches this week having been invited to redundancy meetings.

Assistant secretary Brendan O’Brien explains: “The Operations Director has been contacted with a reminder that the CWU has recognition with Eurest and that consultation should have been held before any approach to members,” stresses CWU assistant secretary Brendan O’Brien.

“A number of alternatives and mitigations have been put to the company including consideration of voluntary redundancy, temporary reductions in hours, reviewing any agency or temporary contracts and closing down existing vacancies.

“Individual Consultation meetings are being held on a local unit-by-unit basis and branches are already supporting members in those meetings.”

In response to the CWU’s intervention Eurest has agreed to consider various alternatives to redundancy in situations where they are appropriate, and these include:

  • Reviewing temporary contracts or agency workers and consider if these roles could be offered to those at-risk of redundancy
  • Requesting interest in voluntary redundancy
  • Voluntary Reduction in Hours – discuss whether employee is willing to do this and accommodate where possible
  • Not backfilling any existing vacancies.

             Brendan O’Brien

Brendan warns, however, that the desperateness of the situation facing the entire hospitality/ catering sector means that the positive impact of any such mitigations are likely to be limited.

“Catering activity within BT buildings has almost ceased and with reported volumes and revenues being down by around 80% – and Eurest are stating that this catastrophic collapse in demand, coupled uncertainties over the speed and scope of BT’s return to work programme, means it has no option but to an urgent restructuring exercise in order to mitigate the impact on the company.

“Although furlough has been used in some instances, they are adamant that the scale of this restructuring exercise means that significant numbers of redundancies are inevitable.

“Sadly it appears that the unfolding situation in Eurest is an early demonstration of the limitations of the Government’s assistance to industry as the furlough scheme begins to wind down.”


  • Further detail and information will be circulated to branches supporting members in Eurest as it becomes available.