A trade union has warned staff could be made redundant if the council fails to find a contractor to run a café in its £50 million new base.

The Barnet branch of Unison says workers at the Atrium Café at the council’s North London Business Park office face losing their jobs in an example of how outsourcing to private companies can lead to a loss of control.

Barnet Council outsourced its catering service to Mott McDonald in 2016. The service was then transferred to Cambridge Education, which subcontracted it to global giant ISS.

With the council due to move from North London Business Park to its new offices in Bristol Avenue, Colindale, ISS decided to hand over the running of the cafe to a franchise, Costa Coffee.

But Unison was subsequently told ISS would not provide a service – and the council has so far been unable to find a contractor to run the café.

The Atrium Café is due to close in March, and the union has warned there is “very little time to find another employer”. It has alerted staff to the risk of redundancy.

Barnet Unison’s branch secretary John Burgess said between eight and ten people could lose their jobs.

In a statement, the union said: “Outsourcing has failed our low-paid members and it has failed the staff who work in Colindale.

“The importance of a staff canteen is that it provides a space away from your desk to de-stress and meet up with work colleagues. It’s a space that helps promote mental health and wellbeing.”

Barnet Unison claims the council ignored its suggestion to bring the café in-house.

A Barnet Council spokesperson said: “We have worked hard to secure a provider of the new café we want to introduce for the 2,100 staff at our offices in Colindale.

“This has included hosting three opening days for businesses to view the facilities, which would also be open to the general public.

“While we had a lot of interest, unfortunately none were prepared to take on the opportunity after viewing the full details of our conditions, which included protecting staff rights.

“We are still accepting expressions of interest, and anyone who would like to discuss this opportunity further is invited to email Melanie.Chiknagi@barnet.gov.uk or Kirsty.Dutton@barnet.gov.uk for more information.”