Time to take the Gourmet struggle forward to victory

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THE intervention at the TUC Congress last Monday by the Gate Gourmet locked out workers was an outstanding success. It let every delegate of every TUC affiliated trade union know that the locked out workers do not want redundancy, and all want their jobs back on the current terms and conditions.

Many trade union leaders gave their full support, as did a large number of delegates, with a number supporting the sympathy action of the BA baggage handlers, remarking that what counted was whether it was effective, not whether it was unofficial or official, and concluding that the action was very effective indeed.

The resolution that was carried included an appeal from the union leaders to the Labour government to change the law to allow secondary picketing. This was immediately and ruthlessly slapped down by both Blair and Brown. They said that no Labour government would carry out such a policy – meaning that they supported the Gate Gourmet employers.

After the Labour government declarations, every trade unionist knows that victory for the Gate Gourmet workers is vital, otherwise they will be next, and soon.

After the TUC Congress, the struggle for the complete victory of the Gate Gourmet locked out workers must now be given a huge push forward.

This is all the more necessary, since the TGWU leaders are currently discussing with Gate Gourmet, compulsory redundancies, having agreed on a criteria for compulsory redundancies on September 9.

Yesterday the union leaders and the company were discussing the new terms and conditions that the company wants to have on the site, and a Gourmet proposal that all those involved in the dispute must sign a compromise agreement before a single worker can be allowed back on the job.

This Gourmet proposal being discussed, is that as part of a compromise agreement workers will give up part of their rights concerning unfair dismissal!

That the TGWU leaders should be discussing such a deal with the Gate Gourmet ‘bandit capitalists’ is an absolute disgrace and a betrayal.

The locked out workers, and the section of shop stewards who are not in on the proposed deal, must now move into action to foil any such agreement and to win the dispute.

This must take the decision to call Heathrow Airport workers out on strike to create the conditions where the dispute can be won in just days.

As the RMT leader Bob Crow remarked at the TUC Congress this tactic is effective, and that is all that matters.

The airport must now be called out to win the dispute, and all those workers and their trade unions who supported the Gate Gourmet workers at the TUC Congress must be invited to take similar sympathy action.

In fact, this is the not just the way to win the Gate Gourmet struggle, it is the way to smash the anti union laws, and to regain the freedom for trade unions to operate which Thatcher and Blair have tried to destroy.

This is the kind of push that is now necessary and there is no doubt that such action will bring powerful changes to the leadership of the trade unions.

The present leadership of the TGWU and the TUC have shown that they are willing to sign away every right of the working class and are completely unable to defend the jobs, wages and conditions of workers.

They have to go. The start of this will be for the whole of the working class to rally round the Gate Gourmet workers and to see to it by their actions that they gain a resounding victory.