A union has called for bosses at Barts Health NHS Trust to step in and save 100 catering jobs.

The trust’s outsourced caterer Elior has told about 100 staff that they will lose their jobs as it struggles with the financial impacts of coronavirus.

Unite has called for Barts, which runs Whipps Cross Hospital in Leytonstone, to step in and save the jobs after nearly half of staff were told they would lose their jobs and the remaining staff told they will have their hours cut by 10 per cent.

Bosses at Barts say they have entered discussions with Elior about the imminent redundancies.

“We have invited the company to our next staff partnership forum and want to work with them to try and redeploy displaced staff where possible”, a spokesperson for the trust said.

Unite regional officer Ruth Hydon said: “It is a disgrace that the trust is allowing profit-hungry Elior to throw our members on the scrapheap after all they have done. Some of our members have worked at the Barts trust for nearly 30 years – and this is very shabby reward for their loyalty.

“The trust was paying the wages of Elior staff during the pandemic, but that stopped abruptly when meals for NHS staff were no longer ‘free’. Now that meals are again being charged for, Elior wasted no time in asking our members to bear the brunt of this dip in its profits.

“Barts should not be allowing these precarious and exploitative contracts to be used in NHS hospitals to hike-up the profits of private companies – there needs to be a serious rethink by management about getting rid of these outsourcing contracts once-and-for-all.”

Officials at Elior have confirmed they are working with the trust to “help mitigate any reduction to the team.”

A spokesperson for the company said: “We operate the cafes for visitors and staff at Barts, which have been closed to the public by the hospital for some time, and will remain closed until for the foreseeable future in light of the ongoing pandemic.

“As a result, the sites are not generating enough revenue to sustain the usual levels of staffing."

Ms Hydon said the situation “makes a nonsense of NHS privatisation.”

She added: While Elior is making catering staff redundant, another outsourcer Serco is recruiting the same staff – this is another example of what is happening in the Alice in Wonderland world of NHS privatisation."

East London and West Essex Guardian Series:

For more breaking news, local headlines and features, ‘like’ our Facebook page.

We also have a Twitter account: @ELondonGuardian

Follow us to keep up-to-date with news in Waltham Forest and Redbridge.