GATE GOURMET, the firm that locked out over 700 of its workers in a pre-planned onslaught on August 10, admitted yesterday that the locked out workers had defeated its attempt to force through a three stage ‘Compromise Agreement’.
The locked out workers had dubbed the deal a ‘rotten compromise’.
Under it every worker had to give up their employment rights and agree that they would never take legal action over the company’s conduct when it imposed the lock-out. Also that they would never apply to work in the future at Gate Gourmet, or any of its affiliates or associates, and that Gate Gourmet was not legally bound by the terms of the ‘Compromise Agreement’.
Only when every locked out worker had agreed to this theft of their basic rights could there be any financial compensation (two weeks pay for every year worked) for the hundreds to be made redundant.
The locked out workers rejected this rotten compromise, and also rejected the TGWU and TUC leaders Woodley, Gold and Barber who negotiated it.
The Gate Gourmet website yesterday displayed the following statement from Eric Born, Managing Director of Gate Gourmet UK & Ireland.
He said: ‘It is disappointing that many of the dismissed workers who instigated and took part in the illegal wildcat strike, by not signing up to the Compromise Agreement are delaying the process agreed with the union. Because of this the defined steps for implementing each stage of the agreement have not yet been concluded.
‘For this reason, despite Gate Gourmet’s determination to see the agreement implemented in full, we have not been in a position to offer the compensation payment to our former employees as agreed with the TGWU or in the case of some to consider them for re-engagement.
‘We have decided, in agreement with the trade union, to accelerate the process and are taking steps to enable the former employees to receive a compensation payment and ensure a faster resumption of full service for our customers.
‘Gate Gourmet’s decision to accelerate the implementation of the agreement means we will not wait for all former employees to sign the compromise agreement before any get their individual cases sorted out. Nor will we allow the refusal by some to deny progress for others.
‘We remain committed to following the spirit and the letter of our September agreement with the TGWU and hope to conclude matters as quickly as possible. Overall our main priority is to restore full service levels to British Airways short-haul flights.’
Friday’s Financial Times reported that ‘Only 50 of the 144’ (workers who were to be mde compulsorily redundant) ‘have so far agreed to take the money and sign the letters.’
Locked out workers on the picket line spoke to News Line yesterday.
Jabir Gupta said: ‘It is being reported that only 50 people have signed. That means the deal is dead.
‘We are going to hold a big rally to show that we are still united and all fighting together for reinstatement on our original terms and conditions.’
He alleged that the senior shop steward Mr Dhillon ‘is phoning people telling them to sign the Compromise Agreement. This is disgusting. He’s meant to take the workers’ side not the company’s. He should resign.’
Fellow picket Billa spoke about letters received by colleagues from the company inviting them to come to an interview about possible re-engagement. He told News Line:
‘It is a trap. They are short of loaders and drivers because the company is treating them badly under the Survival Plan where they are making people do all sorts of different things, different jobs that they can’t refuse and increasing workload.’
Mrs Jasbir Desangh said: ‘I’m not going to sign theCompromise Agreement. The union leaders are telling people to sign, they are fighting for the company not their own members.
‘The union leaders are rubbish, we want new leaders.’
Gurdev Barespal said ‘These union leaders are doing the dirty on us. They are trying to divide us up.
They are putting an enormous amount of pressure on people to sign the Compromise Agreement.’
Mrs Patel added: ‘I am very angry that there is no tent here today. It is freezing cold. The union should stop driving us off the hill and give us warmth and shelter here.’