UCD students have begun their boycott against Aramark Catering over the controversy surrounding their Direct Provision contract.
In 2013, Aramark Catering secured a contract to create an International Food Court in Gerard Manley Hopkins building on the UCD campus. Today Aramark runs the main cafeteria as well as Chopped, Subway and also caters at UCD campus events.
Aramark won a lucrative contract with the Irish government to provide catering to Ireland's three Direct Provision centres. Direct Provision is a system set up for asylum seekers that provides basic needs such as food and shelter while they are in the process of acquiring refugee status. The people living in this system are forbidden from working or cooking for themselves and are provided an allowance of €21.60 a week.
Direct Provision started out as a short term solution, however there has been a slowing of this process over the years meaning that many asylum seekers have been in the system for as many as seven years.
Aramark have come under criticism for not allowing asylum seekers basic human rights. They have been accused of malnutrition as well as not taking into consideration asylum seekers religion and dietary preferences. The standard of service Aramark provides was called into question in 2015 people living in an Aramark catered centre began a hunger strike in order to campaign for receiving more diverse meal options.
The boycott follows on from a similar situation Trinity College Dublin where students successfully lobbied for Trinity to end its partnership with Aramark when their contract is up in 2021.
H/T: The College Tribune