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Restaurants: No more discounts! - 2014, February 13

Restaurants: No more discounts!

Restaurants: No more discounts!

As the OIB recently announced, in early January, the Commission’s restaurants/cafeterias opened their doors, with three new partners on board (Ciano, Compass-Group Eurest and Unijolly).

The good news is that under this new contract, the IOB has taken account of the findings of the last staff satisfaction survey. As requested by staff, the menus now include organic products and a varied choice of high-quality food.

The bad news is that the Commission has chosen to introduce competition on a day-to-day basis between these new suppliers that share the three sites in three different batches. For all the services required, three price ranges are available: fixed price, maximum price, free pricing set by the provider. Depending on the supplier linked to the site, the prices can vary from one canteen to another. This may be beneficial in another setting, but at the Commission, staff members are treated differently depending on where they eat. This difference in prices according to the site/supplier creates discrimination among the users of these self-service cafeterias. This has provoked a reaction among some staff members and, as a result, while some cafeterias are very busy, others are snubbed.

If you wish to visit a site with more affordable meals, you need at least one hour a day to have lunch outside, to allow for travel time, queuing (long, depending on how busy the site is) and the time needed to eat. This is not something that you can do on a regular basis, especially with the risk for staff of finding themselves very quickly “in the red” as regards working hours (flexitime).

By coincidence, the negative aspects of the reform have arrived at the same time as this contract change. The prices previously charged for dishes of the day have been adjusted and standardised
(http://myintracomm.ec.testa.eu/hr_admin/en/catering_bxl/Pages/index.aspx).

Below is an example relating to only a dish of the day/a bowl of soup/a piece of bread:

Dish of the day

Soup

Bread

Price

difference

Before:

without discount

€5.30

Offered with the dish of the day

€0 (1 piece)

5.30

+ €0.30

with discount

€3.80

3.80

+ €1.80

After:

4.70

€0.60

€0.30 (1 piece)

5.60


Withdrawal of the discount granted to low-income staff
Anecdotally, when the previous contract was negotiated, a discount had been granted by the supplier to low-income staff. A logo indicating entitlement to this discount was displayed on the badge of the staff members in question. Over time, this discount had become fairly burdensome for the supplier because the number of colleagues entitled to this discount had increased significantly over the last ten years. This discount was not negotiated in the new contract and therefore no longer applies with effect from the start of January.
For the staff members who were entitled to the “meal” discount, this is another hard blow which has further increased their monthly canteen budget. The increase for only the dish of the day works out as follows: €1.8 x 20 days = €36 a month (i.e. 36 x 11 months = €396 a year – less the month’s holiday leave).

With the salary freeze, non-indexation, as well as all the other consequences of the reform (withdrawal of travel and other expenses), the situation could rapidly become very serious!
At a time when our purchasing power is decreasing, the cost of living, on the other hand, continues to rise!

Suggestions

Conf-SFE calls on DG HR and the OIB to take the necessary steps to make the suppliers of the Cafeterias/Canteens adjust certain prices. Driving customers away is not good for business!
Conf-SFE asks DG HR to take a hard look at the working conditions of low-income staff. If some of these staff members continue to feel the difference in their wallets, they will no longer be the future of the institutions, but rather its past!

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