Staff members of Elior Catering are questioning KU policy amid allegations they are being underpaid.
Catering staff claimed that because the university is sub-letting the catering work, they are being paid less than the London living wage and the rest of the contracted employees at Kingston.
One staff member said: “The reason I haven’t spoken up before is because I just recently became aware of the pay difference within the university.
“We’re providing a service to the university and it’s odd they take no responsibility for what we’re paid.”
Elior staff have asked to remain anonymous and some claimed that more staff would come forward if they were not scared of the personal consequences it may have.
Elior Catering have stated their pay rates are in line with the university’s pay policy and a spokeswoman said: “We ensure that our pay rates are in line with the university’s pay policy.
“We review and agree these annually with the universities we work with, and our pay rates are locally driven and reflect the labour market in which each contract operates.”
The spokeswoman also stated that Elior offered London Living Wages whenever possible. She said: “Elior UK recognises that the Living Wage is good for business. We’re committed to working in partnership with our clients and offering the Living Wage wherever possible.”
A Kingston University spokeswoman said the university was not responsible for the pay of the catering staff.
She said: “Kingston University’s catering services are contracted out by its facilities management company KUSCO to Elior. Elior is an external company and it sets the pay of its own staff.”
Paul Humphries, the general manager of KUSCO confirmed that all permanent staff are on London Living Wages, but stated that catering is a contracted service to the university, and therefore KUSCO did not determine the pay of catering staff.
The Elior staff have also directed heavy criticism towards UNISON, the trade union representing the staff, for not standing up for their rights: “UNISON should have been proactive and investigated such a pay difference within one university.
“They should be representing us, ensuring we’re paid according to the work we’re actually doing, but it’s just not happening.”
UNISON declined to answer any questions from The River.