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The News Line: News PAY UP HARDSHIP MONEY
Gate Gourmet locked-out workers picketing the TGWU office in Hillingdon yesterday demanding that they get their promised hardship pay. On the right mrs Mundy is forced to struggle into the office on crutches following a knee operation in order to register
MORE Gate Gourmet locked-out workers went to the Hillingdon Transport and General Workers Union Region One office yesterday to register their claim for February’s hardship payments.

They are very angry at having to register at all, and are demanding that the union brings their hardship payments up to date and continues payments to all the 100-plus locked out workers who are taking their case to the Employment Tribunal, until the dispute is settled.

Sukhwinder Mundy had to struggle in after a knee replacement operation just six weeks ago. She told News Line: ‘I went to give my name for the February hardship payment and the lady asked me if I had given it before. <br />
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‘I told her that it had been sent in, but had been sent back by the deputy regional secretary, Patrick O’Keefe, saying he would only pay out to those who came into the office themselves to apply. <br />
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‘I had a knee operation on the 19th of May and I still find it very hard to get about.<br />
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‘We are waiting for the hardship pay. We have had nothing from the union since January, it’s disgusting. I’ve always been in the union, paying my dues for 26 years. <br />
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‘We want our hardship payments brought up to date as is our right and continued until we win.’<br />
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Sukhwinder added: ‘We all want our fellow union members to support us on our anniversary march and rally in Southall on Sunday 20th of August. We are not just fighting for ourselves, please come to our rally.’<br />
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Mussarat Saeed said: ‘We are very angry at the way we are being treated. <br />
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‘When I went in to give my name for the hardship money the lady said she needed proof that I’m not working, what is this? <br />
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‘Why do they need proof? We are suffering a lot and they ask about proof, they are not concerned about our feelings or how hard we are struggling, this is no way for a union to behave.’<br />
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Sukhdev Brar said: ‘We are not working and we are not getting Jobseekers Allowance, we are paying our union dues, we are fighting for our jobs and we are entitled to hardship pay until the dispute is over. <br />
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‘Tony Woodley (TGWU General Secretary) agreed to us being made compulsorily redundant after the company attacked us and sacked us on the 10th of August. <br />
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‘We are going to fight this through to the finish and we are entitled to the full support of the union.’<br />
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Rajany Sharma added: ‘We want everyone to come to our anniversary rally, we are going to win our tribunals which take place later this year. We were all unfairly dismissed and we need the support of the union. <br />
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‘The union leaders made an agreement with the company behind our backs. They stabbed us in the back. If they get away with it then no union member is safe.’<br />
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• Second news story <br />
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US OFFICER WON'T SERVE IN IRAQ<br />
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US OFFICER First Lieutenant Ehren Watada was charged on Wednesday with missing the troop movement to Iraq, contempt towards officials and conduct unbecoming an officer, the US army said in a statement.<br />
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Watada has called the war and US occupation of Iraq ‘illegal’ and said participation would make him party to war crimes.<br />
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His supporters say he is the first commissioned US officer to publicly refuse to serve in Iraq and face a military court. He remained at Fort Lewis base in Washington state when his unit shipped out to Iraq on June 22.<br />
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Watada said he would be willing to serve in Afghanistan or elsewhere.<br />
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If found guilty of all charges, he could face several years in prison, dishonourable discharge and forfeiture of pay, according to the army. <br />
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Watada’s lawyer, Eric Seitz, said he expected the missing movement charge, but was somewhat surprised by the other charges, because they raise free speech issues.<br />
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‘What he said about the war and the way the war began and the misrepresentations by the Bush administration are all true. <br />
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‘Not only does he have a right to make those statements, he has an obligation to make those statements.’<br />
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