Jobs go as school outsources cafeteria
Ten Bermudian employees at the school cafeteria at CedarBridge Academy will lose their jobs next month due to redundancies and outsourcing.
Bermuda Public Services Union General Secretary Ed Ball confirmed the union was informed in writing on Tuesday in a signed by school board member Jason Benevides.
In a statement released to The Royal Gazette last night, the schools Media Relations Coordinator, Alfred Roberts confirmed that the board has decided to outsource the work to a private vendor.
The catalyst of the Board of Governors decision was made in the context of a very constrained operating budget for the school, said Mr Roberts.
There have been consecutive years of substantial operational losses generated by the cafeteria operations, and a lucid approach to identify operational efficiencies which would deliver the greatest value for the school without materially impeding its core educational mandate.
Concluding to outsource cafeteria operations was not made lightly or without meticulous thought to the significant personal impact the decision would have on the staff members affected.
In fact, the Governors proposed to the successful vendor to give consideration of employing redundant CBA staff in order to mitigate the impact the outsourcing decision would have on those employees, he said.
The successful vendor has been advised and will adhere by the Department of Health's Healthy Schools Initiative.
When contacted by this newspaper, Mr Ball said: Naturally in this economic climate the workers are upset at the prospect of being unemployed as of next month. But I would rather wait to hear from the Minister of Education Dame Jennifer Smith before I comment on specifics.
We want dialogue on where the Ministry stands on all of this, but ultimately were talking about more Bermudians being out of work. And you cant get on financial assistance right away.
We have written to the Minister requesting a meeting and we will wait to hear when it will be held, but as it stands right now the redundancies are due to go into effect mid August.
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Education said: The appropriate path is for the BPSU to go to the Board and the Board Chair and they bring the information to the Minister. She confirmed that discussions are taking place.
Four of the staff set to lose their jobs work at the cafeteria full-time, the remaining six work on a part-time basis. The cafeteria was kept open this summer to accommodate the students attending summer classes.
Mr Ball lamented the fact that all the workers set to lose their jobs next month are Bermudian, including an internationally acclaimed chef.
Meanwhile, Mr Roberts said it was decided following a review of the public Request for Proposal process, the Board concluded that outsourcing the cafeteria function represented a viable alternative for the school to dramatically reduce its projected substantial operating deficit.
He said the board wrote to the BPSU in early June to advise of contemplated plans for restructuring, including possible outsourcing of the cafeteria, and that a meeting was held late in June to discuss the topic further.
At that meeting, CBA shared the material results of its RFP process with the BPSU and indicated that outsourcing was being actively considered. The BPSU was asked to provide comment and alternative suggestions that merited consideration, said Mr Roberts.
After considering the needs and financial condition of the school, the board resolved to outsource cafeteria operations to a private vendor, thus allowing the school to regain its financial stability.
A meeting was called for Wednesday, July 25, with affected staff and BPSU representatives so that board members could advise staff in person of this decision, said Mr Roberts, who confirmed a courtesy letter was sent to the BPSU on Tuesday.
The staff affected will receive the appropriate paperwork and compensation from the school in due course.
Mr Roberts concluded: While operational restructuring and staff redundancies are difficult decisions for any board, they become even more difficult when public institutions are impacted and the economic environment is weak.
However, the present CBA BOG are determined not to abdicate their responsibilities and avoid making difficult but necessary decisions for the ultimate benefit of CBA and its students.
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