GATE Gourmet locked out workers were angry yesterday when they were told by the local union office that that they had received the last of the hardship payments.
They have been locked out for almost six months. They were told that the only way that they would be considered for a proper hardship payment would be if they signed the Compromise Agreement and gave up their fight to return to their jobs on their original terms and conditions.
Locked out worker Parmjit Bains told News Line: ‘We received a hardship payment cheque today for the period from the 19th of December to the 6th of January, that is only two weeks and two more weeks have passed.
‘We are very angry, we are still union members and the union leaders are treating us like this. Why can’t they play their role honestly?
‘This treatment follows on from the unsigned letter with the T&G letterhead which we received last week saying that the union solicitor may not represent us at our tribunal cases.’
The Gate Gourmet campaign team visited the Southall Sikh Temple in Western Road yesterday and the Kodak Photographic company in Harrow and spoke to some of the workers there.
They also visited Harrow Fire Station and Harrow Weald Bus Garage where they got support from bus workers.
Transport and General Workers Union representative for the Kodak workers, Roger Stelfox said: ‘We were told by the T&G union leaders that your dispute was settled. We also had problems here with redundancies. I will make sure the Gate Gourmet workers are invited to the Harrow Trades Council meeting tomorrow to address all the unions there.’
Locked-out Gate Gourmet worker Raksha Sharmar said: ‘Why has the T&G given me only two weeks hardship money up to January the 6th instead of four weeks, because we are still in dispute.
‘I rely on the little hardship money I get because I don’t get any money from anywhere else. When I phoned the local union office they said I had to see the union solicitor tomorrow to see if I qualify for hardship money.
‘The union office said I have to sign the compromise deal before I can qualify for hardship money.’