Angry IPC staff won't stomach canteen closure

IPC: "ignored wishes" of staff

More than 550 staff at IPC have signed a petition protesting at the intended closure of the subsidised staff canteen.

Plans to close the Print Inn have sparked fury among employees, who claim they will be forced into already crowded, smoky, local pubs to find hot meals. They are said to be outraged by the way the announcement was made, claiming it was "buried" in an e-mail among a list of planned refurbishments.

The petition, signed by 553 people in three days, is believed to have gone to senior management this week, along with a letter from the NUJ chapel urging IPC to reconsider its plans. The letter said staff wanted a place to eat, meet and relax away from their desks, a good range of decent-quality, basic, hot meals and desserts, a self-service salad bar, quick service, shorter queues at checkouts and all prices to be kept lower than those charged externally.

The letter claims the decision to close the canteen was taken without warning, consultation or clear information about alternative facilities. It warns: "Ignoring the clearly stated wishes of so many people would also have a significant, detrimental effect on staff morale, with serious implications for productivity." IPC claimed the canteen had low usage and the closure was necessary to facilitate the extra electricity supply for a new data centre in Kings Reach Tower.

An NUJ chapel spokesman said: "IPC is obviously trying to save space and the cost of the subsidy it currently pays to run the canteen. The suspicion is that it also wants to make money by renting some space back to a franchise such as Starbucks. Staff would not accept this as a suitable alternative."

By Ruth Addicott

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