Gate Gourmet hardship payments – ‘No way will people be allowed to go without’ says TGWU official

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Over 100,000 workers marched through Dublin’s streets yesterday as the general strike shook the country in protest at slave labour being used on Irish Ferries
Over 100,000 workers marched through Dublin’s streets yesterday as the general strike shook the country in protest at slave labour being used on Irish Ferries

MORE than 20 locked out Gate Gourmet workers were picketing yesterday at Heathrow Airport determined to win their fight.

Their lobby of the TGWU general council last Tuesday had a huge impact.

TGWU general council member Iggy Vaid told News Line: ‘I have requested for further funds to be paid to the locked out workers and Tony Woodley said he would speak to the region to find out how many people have signed the Compromise Agreement.

‘If the dispute is not finished then I want to see hardship payments continuing.’

TGWU press officer Andrew Dodgson told News Line yesterday, when asked if the hardship payments had been stopped: ‘That’s a matter for the region to determine in consultation with the shop stewards.’

He claimed: ‘A process is going on whereby people are returning to work in line with the agreement voted for overwhelmingly.’

Asked what about those who are not returning to work, he repeated: ‘Hardship payments are a matter for the region to determine along with the shop stewards’ but ‘no way will people be allowed to go without.’

Asked ‘when will the next payment be made’, he said ‘That is a matter for the region to determine.’

On the picket line Harbinder Singh said: ‘We must have a permanent shelter where we can make tea and coffee, and the union must provide it.

‘We are fighting for the union and we are picketing until we win.’

Mrs Jazbir Gupta said: ‘When we went to the TGWU executive on Tuesday people promised us that they would sort things out.

‘They said that they would make sure we have shelter and would stop the union leaders from stopping the hardship payments.

‘One delegate said he would never have signed the deal with the company which the union leaders signed.

‘At the moment we are picketing with no shelter. We are coming every day and we are still strong and fighting until victory.’

Mrs Satti Uppal said: ‘Gate Gourmet has sent back its response to my unfair dismissal claim. They deny everything. I was on annual leave when they sacked me. We are going to beat them.’

Mrs Sandesh Kumari said ‘I am one of the 144 compulsory redundancies. This company sacked us with no warning. The airport bosses want cheap labour, with no rights.

‘The union has to fight for us. We need union leaders who are fighting for the members not the bosses.

‘They must not stop the hardship payments. We have got bills and mortgages the same as everyone else.

‘We are strong and we are going to win.’