Select Committee on Catering Minutes of Evidence

Supplementary memorandum by the House of Commons Whitley Committee Trade Union Side

  Many thanks again for inviting the Trade Union Side to give evidence to your inquiry.

  There is one item we should have perhaps mentioned and did not.

  At least 50 per cent of House staff are rostered—that is, they take lunch on one or more days a week at predetermined times, set by their management, or depending on the times of committee sittings. If House Departments could arrange their rosters such that no break began or finished at exactly 1300, then I think the most oppressive overcrowding in the cafeterias might be relieved. In other words, lunches could be timed for 1250, 1310 or 1320. This expedient would spread the "ultra peak" over half an hour rather than concentrating it into five or 10 minutes as happens at the moment. No expenditure would be involved, just some coordinated administrative action, after consulting local union reps. The same could be applied to committee sittings—if there were five committees, perhaps some could be timed to finish relatively earlier or later than 1300.

Chris Pond

15 May 2002

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