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Gate Gourmet sacked workers discussing with Unite union co-leader Derek Simpson who said ‘if there is injustice I am very concerned’
ON the opening day of the TUC conference in Manchester yesterday a lively 50 strong lobby of Workers Revolutionary Party and Young socialists members greeted delegates with demands for a General Strike to defeat the Tory cuts.

A delegation of Gate Gourmet sacked workers, gained tremendous support from delegates for their cause and their upcoming 5th anniversary rally in Southall.

PCS Secretary Mark Serwotka told News Line: ‘We are proposing a coordinated action of all the unions in opposing the cuts.

‘We are serious about what we are doing, to organise action across the unions if the government continues its attacks on our member’s living standards and jobs.’

Unite London Westminster delegate, Dan Crines said: ‘We’ve got to build public support for a general strike. The cuts have to be confronted. I’m proud to buy a ticket for the Gate Gourmet sacked workers 6th anniversary rally.

‘They’ve been seriously let down by both the employer and the Unite leadership.’

Kev Clarke UCATT Lincoln Chairman and Labour Councillor said: ‘What the Coalition is going on about is a load of rubbish. Saying they are going to destroy the public sector and build up the private sector is crazy.

‘It’s only a few years ago that Thatcher destroyed the private sector in Lincoln and all over the country.
‘We had six heavy industrial factories. They’ve all gone now. I’d support a general strike.’

Ian Flowers, Unite Norwich said: ‘Brendon Barber (TUC General Secretary) says he wants to get the public onside, before taking action.

‘While Bob Crow advocates a campaign of civil disobedience. He is talking about sitting out on roads and motorways against the cuts.

‘Mark Serwotka says no job losses are acceptable.

‘But not one of them is calling for a general strike.’

Unite Joint General Secretary Derek Simpson told News line ‘We don’t need to be talking to the Tories, we need to be talking to the British people.’

As he was entering the building, the delegation of Gate Gourmet sacked workers told him that he should be supporting their struggle.

He said: ‘The Gate Gourmet struggle wasn’t something I was involved in.

‘It was during the time of the Transport and General Workers Union and before the establishment of Unite.

‘However, I think their dismissal was very wrong. I always support workers in difficulties but if deals have been signed I don’t know what can be done.

‘I was not aware of a court case. I will make inquiries about your situation. I will ask if your case is in the high courts. I will find out about what has happened

‘If there is injustice I am very concerned,’ Simpson added.

Claire Jones, NUT Secretary for Rhondda Cynon Taf said: ‘I represent twelve hundred people and I want to hear what is going to happen to defend public services. A 25% cut in education would be devastating.
‘I would support a general strike to kick the government out’.

Robert Skelton, Leeds Unite Branch Treasurer, said: ‘It is terrible what is happening to the Gate Gourmet workers. This union has to fight much much harder for its members.’

Hank Roberts, ATL Junior Vice President, said: ‘The cuts in the education sector are the worst in living memory. They represent an attempt to completely realign the relations between the trade unions, the government and the employers.

‘We have to resist that attempt.’

RMT General Secretary Bob Crow rushed into the conference but said ‘It’s a waste of time to lobby the Tories.’

TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber also rushed in but said to the Gate Gourmet Workers, ‘I think the union did all it could to win a decent settlement.’

Rob Fitzpatrick Hatfield Main NUM said of the Gate Gourmet struggle: ‘I think theirs is a just cause and I think that the union must back them in their hour of need.’

He continued: ‘There should have been a general strike in 1984-85 (the Miners Strike) We’ve got a culture now where the Tories think they can take whatever they want.’

Brian Caton former General Secretary of the Prison Officers Association and TUC General Council member said: ‘I have advocated a general strike for the past three TUC’s.

‘My view is that we should fight for working men and women – if needed, breaking bad laws to do what is necessary – to protect vulnerable workers, including the Gate Gourmet workers.

‘Demonstrations have an affect, but the biggest affect during my time was when all the Prison Officers came out on strike.’

Helen Flanagan PCS Branch Chair Wigan DWP said: ‘I’d like the TUC to call a national demonstration to start with.

‘The TUC needs to get off their knees and recognise that these attacks on the working class must be defeated. We need a general strike to win now,’ she stressed.


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