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Year 2005 No. 107, August 12, 2005 ARCHIVE HOME JBBOOKS SUBSCRIBE

Press Realeases of the TGWU on the Gate Gourmet Dispute

Workers' Daily Internet Edition: Article Index :

Gate Gourmet Accused of Undermining its Own Future

Anger at Heathrow as Gate Gourmet sack workers by megaphone

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Press Realeases of the TGWU on the Gate Gourmet Dispute

Gate Gourmet Accused of Undermining its Own Future

10 Aug 2005

The airline caterer Gate Gourmet, which this morning sacked over three hundred catering workers at Heathrow, was this afternoon accused by the T&G of designing and manufacturing the situation. The union made it clear that the flashpoint issue - the hiring of 130 seasonal workers - was a provocative move because never before had such extra staff been taken on while permanent staff were under threat of redundancy. T&G leaders warned that the mediation process to find a way forward to resolve the company's financial difficulties had been put under serious threat by the company's provocative actions.

In a statement from Heathrow, Brendan Gold, the T&G national secretary for civil aviation, who has been denied access to the company's premises to represent the union's members, said "We have always been aware of Gate Gourmet's difficult financial situation and have tried to work hard to find a way forward with them. However, it was the failure of the company to share any pain with management grades which led to the failure of a planned rescue package."

The T&G said events have moved fast today. Union officers said it appeared to be clear that the company had planned every move today by having the sacking letters prepared in advance, hiring in an outside security company and alerting the police.

"There are significant numbers of police here to deal with a workforce, a significant number of whom are women, who feel betrayed by their own company," continued Mr. Gold. "We are taking legal advice here on the ground but Gate Gourmet should be clear this is a trade union which will fight back against the injustice being meted out today."

The union made it clear that the responsibility for any impacts on airlines and services lay with Gate Gourmet. "It is our workers who are being sacked and forcibly moved from their place of work," said Mr. Gold. "The company appear to have rejected the mediation approach, which had been agreed, and are trying to force through restructuring by sacking and starting again. That's treating people with contempt."

ENDS

Article Index



Anger at Heathrow as Gate Gourmet sack workers by megaphone

10 Aug 2005

Workers turning up for the afternoon shift at airline caterer Gate Gourmet today were left confused, dazed and out of work after it appeared they were sacked by megaphone. Eyewitnesses from the T&G said someone, thought to be a Gate Gourmet manager, made an announcement which people found difficult to hear. It transpired very soon afterwards that a twenty minute warning had been issued to staff arriving for the afternoon shift that if they failed to report for work they would be sacked. This was later confirmed in a note handed out. By the time the people realised what was happening, they had, effectively, been sacked.

Brendan Gold, the T&G national secretary for civil aviation said  the whole process this afternoon had been a "a truly bizarre situation which has left people angry, confused, out of work and in a state of shock. If this morning was a difficult situation, this afternoon has taken a much more sinister turn."

The union also revealed details of how the Gate Gourmet managers at Heathrow had undermined the "rescue package" in June this year. T&G representatives said to the company that the restructuring proposals needed to be across the board and include the management grades if the plans were to have credibility. However, the company then re-graded 147 shop-floor workers, who earned around £14,000, as managers only to make them redundant. Then it was made clear that managers in the new structure would be on higher starting salaries than before with the lowest grade paying £18,000 as opposed to £14,000 and other starting salaries being raised to between £22,000 and £28,000. The company was told by the T&G reps that these changes would effectively mean the managers were excluded from the whole process. The rescue package was then rejected because of this by a margin of nine to one.

"From start to finish we have been trying to deal with this company in a straightforward manner," said Mr. Gold. "But what we saw in June has been intensified today. We will take legal advice on the actions of this company in respect of our members but this is far from over."

ENDS

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