A statement from Prof Jane Harrington, Vice-Chancellor


You may be aware of very serious allegations circulating about how our contractor, Sodexo, is managing staff based on our campuses and how the university is responding to the issues and concerns being raised.

We are committed to challenging racism and discrimination as a university and we hold all our contractors to the same standard.

There is wilful misrepresentation and misinformation circulating about the actions the university has taken, and my personal beliefs, so let me be clear: there is no evidence of discrimination in the way Sodexo have paid their staff.

They have confirmed that recent payments have been made solely on the basis of hours worked during the pandemic.  There is no evidence that any payments have been made based on ethnicity. 

Similarly, there is no evidence of discrimination in the way they are managing allegations of a serious incident involving one of their security guards and one of our students.  This has been subject to a thorough investigation that will shortly conclude. I appreciate that this has taken time, but it is right and fair that such issues are properly looked into, for everyone involved. 

Our contract with Sodexo has enabled us to ensure that contracted staff are paid the Real Living Wage and will provide enhanced training and employment opportunities for our students.  

I am proud of our students and all our staff and have celebrated their hard work and commitment over the last nine months and will continue to do so.  

We are also proud to be a diverse and inclusive organisation. We will not shy away from difficult discussions or from challenging discrimination of any kind.  

This willingness to celebrate our strengths and to face and explore our own weaknesses should not be mistaken for privilege or complacency and neither will we be moved from our course by those who wish to undermine our commitment to this work.  

Prof Jane Harrington

For information: the following is a statement from Sodexo

"The claims made by the IWGB (union) are not true. We do not tolerate discrimination in any form. The health, safety and wellbeing of our employees remains our absolute top priority. Employees who continued to work their full hours during the national lockdown at the beginning of the pandemic have been rewarded with a one-off bonus as a part of a company-wide recognition scheme. Sodexo does not provide hazard pay to any employees.

"We cannot discuss issues relating to an individual employee and their contract with us. If any of our employees have a complaint or concern relating to their work then we ask that they raise it with their manager, HR or the confidential hotline available to all our employees. Sodexo's social media policy is applicable to all employees."