October 24 2014 Latest news:
Friday, August 15, 2014
It’s been little more than a month since it was given its grand opening – but already bread riots have broken out within the walls of Camden Council’s plush new headquarters in King’s Cross.
The Ham&High understands council staff at the newly built £123million offices at Five Pancras Square have become incensed at the “absurd” prices the cash-strapped council’s “community cafe” has been trying to charge for its sandwiches.
With some claiming the £5-plus cost for a bit of bread and filler has left them “unable to eat”, servants of the Labour-run council rallied the troops and launched a mass boycott.
One council employee said: “They were trying to make a ridiculous amount of money out of council staff –who are just trying to keep themselves going while at work. Councillors complain in public about the cost of living all the time but this is exactly the kind of burden on the wallet we could all do without. Maybe if they hadn’t outsourced the running of the cafe to a private company we wouldn’t be in this situation.”
Not keen to tempt revolution with an off-the-cuff “let them eat cake” remark, the company running the canteen, Amadeus, instead buckled and dropped its prices to a “more respectable” £3.95.
While aware that the council is in a desperate situation financially, the furious employee says sandwich-gate has got the building “off to a bad start”.
“The council was clearly trying to plug gaps in its finances by allowing its own staff members to be fleeced,” he said. “I’m sure residents know the feeling only too well.”
Cllr Theo Blackwell, cabinet member for finance and technology, said the prices the canteen was charging were “disappointing and too high for a public building”.
A spokesman from Amadeus added: “Since the launch there has been some negative feedback from staff and the public that the prices are too high. Amadeus responded quickly to address this.”