A DEFIANT meeting of Alpha catering workers was held yesterday midday at Cranford Park, Heathrow.
The workers unanimously dismissed Alpha Catering’s plan to cut the hours of its 1,298 employees down from 40-hours-a-week to just 20-hours – and impose a massive wage cut.
Unite officer Tracy Bent told the assembled workers: ‘A few weeks ago you read a letter saying that Alpha wanted to fire you all and put you onto 20-hour contracts. We had a meeting and members decided unanimously that you could not live on 20-hours.
‘Alpha LFG is now owned 100% by Danapa, a very rich company.’
Jatinder Singh, Alpha worker and Unite member, told News Line: ‘The union must organise strike action to defend our jobs and all Heathrow jobs.
‘We cannot live on 20-hour contracts. The union is demanding 40-hours and it must call action to win.’
Unite Alpha senior shop steward Amarjit Sandhu said: ‘It is ridiculous. I have worked here for 20 years. Others have worked here for 30-40 years.
‘Unite must call strike action to defend our jobs and conditions. Our members are very strong and they will fight.’
Referring to a group of fellow workers he continued: ‘These ladies are only on £8.72 per hour. How can they live on half pay? The union must call action now to defend our jobs.’
After the Alpha workers’ meeting, over 300 catering and ground staff employed by various private Heathrow companies also attended a rally at Cranford Park.
Dave McJammet, Unite convenor at Menzies, said: ‘There are 2,400 workers at Menzies. They want to make 446 redundant and that number may increase when the furlough scheme comes to an end.
‘They are also talking about “harmonising” the Legacy Contracts, meaning they want to cut hourly pay to the lowest.
‘Personally, I will be losing £9,000 plus, some colleagues would be losing £12,000 plus.
‘Over the last three years, Menzies’ gross operating profits were £173 million. Unite must call national strike action now to defend every job and all conditions.’
Jaytineer Sidhu, Unite member at Babcock International, said: ‘They want to move us to DHL in November, there are 750 of us, with 350 on furlough.
‘They want to sack 158. We want the union to fight for us. Call the airport and the whole country out!’
Inderjit Kalsi, DHL worker and Unite member, said: ‘There are over 1,000 of us on furlough, the whole airport should be called out on strike to defend all of our jobs.’
Shereen Higginson, Unite regional officer, told the rally: ‘We have got 5,000 catering workers at Heathrow, with 3,000 of them at risk of redundancy. Our members are facing these job losses and those that remain are having their terms and conditions slashed. These job losses will have a devastating impact on whole communities.’
Jas Gill, Unite member at Swissport, told News Line: ‘They want to make 4,500 of us redundant, that is 53% of the company’s workforce. We need the union to call action.’