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  • Writer's pictureThe Gaudie

MacRobert Cafe Could Close as IMS Site Shuts Doors

Updated: May 30

Staff reduction due to VS scheme has affected 'catering provision', says University.


By Josh Pizzuto-Pomaco


A sign informing IMS staff that the on site cafe had closed.

Amidst a slew of staff departures, plans to close several campus cafes have been mooted by catering chiefs.  


The University’s cafe in the Institute of Medical Sciences at Foresterhill has already closed, with staff being redeployed to the Suttie Centre. 


And a plan to close MacRobert’s Aberbean Cafe was discussed earlier this month. 


Staffing issues result of aggressive VS scheme 


Staff issues appear to be somewhat self-inflicted, sources tell The Gaudie.


One source said: “Staff were influenced through the risk of losing their job or having reduced hours. We didn't know until last week whether or not there would be compulsory redundancies.”


"The news had a huge influence on staff. You could tell they were worried since they didn't know what might happen.”

This uncertainty led to a number of catering staff taking up the University's recent voluntary severance scheme despite preferring to remain in their posts.


IMS cafe staff given days notice of closure 


Staff in the IMS cafe were informed just days before the site’s closure that they would be redeployed to the Suttie building, leading to a scramble to transfer stock and remove equipment. 


According to a source, academics in IMS have reacted angrily to the news that the cafe has closed. 


Due to the time sensitive nature of many of their experiments, staff lack the time to travel to the Suttie Centre. 

University Director of Estates Morag Beers broke the news to IMS staff in an email. 


She said: “Following a number of recent staff departures within the catering team we have had to take the unfortunate decision to adjust our catering provision by closing IMS café at the end of service today, Friday 17 May.”


We thank you for your custom at the IMS café and while I understand this will be a disappointment, we look forward to welcoming you at the Suttie Centre café which remains open as normal.”


MacRobert cafe closure also discussed


Meanwhile, in the MacRobert Building, plans to close ‘Aberbean’ have been mooted, as a proposal to shut the cafe before graduation was discussed earlier this month.


However, The Gaudie understands that trade union pressure has ensured the site will remain open for several months, while staff are consulted on any changes. 


One source told us of the uncertainty and stress the situation had caused, commenting:


 “We don't know what's happening now. We have no idea what will happen after graduation."

A University spokesperson declined to confirm whether or not Aberbean was slated for closure, telling The Gaudie: 


“Staff and student demand are regularly reviewed to inform operating levels, with any changes communicated to colleagues.”


MacRobert staff hit out against potential closure


Staff working in MacRobert spoke highly of Aberbean. One source said:


“The cafe serves all of us in the building - staff, students, visitors. As usual there is a lot of uncertainty surrounding what is happening.”

The staff member noted that two of the outlet’s staff had already left the University, commenting: “It has been hard to see staff in the cafe visibly unhappy.” 


Another source added: “The cafe has a personal touch. We enjoy seeing the staff each day.”


“What will it be replaced by? A vending machine?”


The source said they feel the cafe’s offering has decreased in recent years.


“I think they’ve been winding it down for a while. We used to get three hot meal options - now it is one pot of soup and a few sandwiches. Sometimes everything is gone by the time you make it down”


“We’ve heard it’s going to shut before graduation - what if students wanted to take their families there?”

“It feels like it has been set up to fail,” our first source added.




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