hundreds of workers serving ec canteens fired
The Belgian press has recently reported about the suspension of a call for tender to serve the Commission canteens in Brussels; around 400 employees would have been made redundant.
Consequently, our institution has been criticised publicly and many colleagues joined these protests arguing along the basis of lack of social empathy by our institution. TAO-AFI would like to add a number of elements to this sad file, which is only starting.
First, we express our sincere solidarity with the hundreds of workers, actually colleagues, who lost their jobs. Second, we recognise that the EC measure has occurred in the middle of an exceptional health and economic context that has devastated the Horeca sector in Brussels. The issue is of a general and exceptional nature. However, it is in these extraordinary circumstances that our institution should be a benchmark in terms of social empathy and solidarity as the official speeches by our leaders continuously proclaim when the situation affects others. Third, we understand that the present file may involve complex legal issues where the EC is another party alongside contract and labour relationships between a private business and its employees. To be fair we understand that the EC has to take a prudent legal position because it is accountable as a manager of a public budget when our buildings are mostly empty and the service in question cannot be given. Nevertheless, we urge the Commission to do its best to negotiate in good faith with the private companies, the workers' representatives and the Belgian local authorities to find a benchmark solidarity response to the present social crisis.
Last but not least, with regard to the direct or indirect implications for the EU staff resulting from the termination of the above canteens' contracts, TAO will be particularly vigilant that the end of those contracts (i) will not amount to a deterioration of present or future staff rights to receive a quality food supply service at its working place going forward when the health crisis will come to an end, and (ii) will not prejudge or announce future modalities of work where staff will be offered an occasional poor catering supply in hot-desk designed buildings.
TAO will carefully review the new conditions set out in the upcoming EC public bids that should replace the terminated contracts.