Edinburgh LNER catering firm Rail Gourmet accused of 'culture of bullying and harassment'
Catering staff employed by Rail Gourmet at Waverley station are threatening industrial action in protest at an alleged culture of bullying and harassment.
The Rail Maritime and Transport union (RMT) has declared a dispute with the company, which currently supplies train operators LNER, and is preparing to ballot members.
RMT regional organiser Mick Hogg said the dispute dated back to a row earlier this year when the union accused the company of "silencing and disciplining hardworking staff who dare to raise genuine safety concerns".
Our sister paper The Scotsman revealed that after a Covid outbreak at the firm’s Edinburgh premises a manager had emailed staff telling them when they booked a test to claim they had at least one symptom to ensure they got a test at a time when only close contacts of those who contracted Covid were offered tests as a matter of course. Rail Gourmet admitted the instruction should not have been issued
Mr Hogg claimed the local manager was “out of control” and claimed the “culture of bullying and harassment had included elected union representatives being told not to talk about any union business within the workplace and “trying to force people out of the business through their bad health”.
He said: “We have told senior Rail Gourmet managers on countless occasions about the manager but no-one seems to be listening or prepared to take action against this manager. “So as far as my members are concerned enough is enough. This culture of bullying and harassment is not acceptable. Rail Gourmet seem to be turning a blind eye.”
The dispute involves about 20 staff working on the LNER contract, which Mr Hogg said Rail Gourmet had now been told they were losing.
“A new contractor will be taking over from Rail Gourmet and we are hopeful the new employer coming in will take note of all those industrial issues and I'm sure they will be keen to sort them out and have fresh start.”
A Rail Gourmet spokeswoman said: “The wellbeing of our colleagues is paramount to us, and any form of bullying and/or harassment is completely unacceptable. Allegations made to this effect are taken extremely seriously and fully investigated by the business.
" Whilst we can confirm an investigation into a member of our team is currently underway, we cannot comment on the matter until this has been concluded. We have been in regular dialogue with the RMT regarding the matter, and will continue to keep them informed.”