Council staff's fury as Town Hall canteen shuts
PLANS by council chiefs to axe a staff canteen have infuriated workers who say they have been kept in the dark over the closure. Staff at North Somerset Council have protested to councillors and their trade union about the lack of consultation about the p
PLANS by council chiefs to axe a staff canteen have infuriated workers who say they have been kept in the dark over the closure.Staff at North Somerset Council have protested to councillors and their trade union about the lack of consultation about the proposal to shut the subsidised restaurant in the Town Hall in Weston.Council chiefs decided to stop paying the £12,696 annual subsidy it makes towards keeping food prices down in the eatery as part of a cost cutting exercise. The authority's finance director, Phil Hall, said the kitchens would also need a £100,000 revamp soon.The decision to close the canteen at the end of August was taken at the council executive meeting on Tuesday.But the area will be kept as a staff room and drinks and sandwiches will be on sale, possibly from vending machines.The North Somerset UNISON trade unison representative, Judith Porter, has criticised the council for not talking to staff about the proposals.She said: "The council just gave us a copy of the report saying the canteen was going to be closed. We had a meeting and were told it was a possibility but later it was just presented to us with the decision already made."There needs to be a proper consideration of all the options, including an unsubsidised canteen. People do not want vending machines."Councillor Glyn Duck said: "I have received numerous e-mails stating that many hundreds of staff were not aware of the proposals."What concerns me is a lack of consultation with employees. "I am deeply disappointed with the way in which it has been carried out. It should be looked at by a scrutiny panel.