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July 4, 2011

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Sodexo announces “industry first” public commitment with national Trade Unions

The National Framework Agreement defines the nature of the strategic relationship between Sodexo – which provides security solutions as part of its services portfolio for customers – and the three Trade Unions, and identifies guiding principles for managers, union representatives and other employees regarding the expectations they may have of each other.

The agreement is also a public declaration from each organisation, duly outlining their commitment towards continued joint working and to raise awareness of the genuine, effective and positive relationship between unionised staff and Sodexo.

The facilities management solutions provider has been working closely with numerous Trade Unions for several years, not just in the UK but also across the globe.

As an organisation, Sodexo employs approximately 380,000 individuals at over 34,000 sites in 80 countries, and provides more than 43,000 jobs across 2,300 locations in the UK alone. The company “respects its employees’ right to unionise as they choose”, viewing those employees as being “without doubt” its greatest asset.

Joint working with the Trade Unions

Aidan Connolly, chief executive officer for Sodexo UK and Ireland, said: “This agreement is a significant achievement that clearly demonstrates our commitment for joint working with Trade Unions. Our culture is based on respect and high moral and ethical standards. We respect unequivocally the right of every employee to unionise.”

He added: “As one of the world’s largest employers – we’re the 21st largest employer worldwide and seventh largest employer in Europe – Sodexo places great importance on its relationships with its employees and on being a fair employer.”

Len McCluskey, Unite’s general secretary, explained: “This agreement reflects our shared belief that Sodexo and its workforce are stronger working together. Union-organised workplaces bring companies progress, be it improved Health and Safety or lower staff turnover, so we are delighted that Sodexo wants to work with us to harness these benefits.”

In conclusion, McCluskey added: “Most importantly of all, this agreement also says to members of Sodexo’s workforce that they are valued and respected. We look forward now to bringing the benefits to the Sodexo workforce across these isles.”

Dave Prentis, Unison’s general secretary, also had this to say: “This agreement is a welcome demonstration of the commitment on both sides to positive, partnership working. Increasing numbers of workers providing public services are now employed by private companies. It’s only right that they should have the protection of a Trade Union. We look forward to working with Sodexo for the benefit of these staff and the company.”

Comment from the GMB

Paul Kenny, the GMB’s general secretary (which is that most closely aligned with the welfare of employees in the security sector), outlined: “This new agreement between the GMB and Sodexo sets the benchmark for relations between the Trade Unions and private employers working in this part of the public sector. It shows how, with the right mindset, workers can be unionised to their own and their employer’s mutual benefit.”

Kenny concluded: “The GMB looks forward to meeting Sodexo staff and talking to them about the benefits of membership.”

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