THE first day of the Employment Tribunal for Gate Gourmet sacked workers took place yesterday in Reading, where they are challenging the company over wrongful dismissal.
Yesterday the pre-hearing of the Tribunal began to discuss whether a strike or any other industrial action had taken place on August 10th 2005 when Gate Gourmet sacked over 800 workers.
The main person questioned yesterday was Eric Born, managing director of Gate Gourmet UK, who was mainly responsible for the decision to sack the workforce and bring in casual labour on the day.
He stated that following a decision by Gate Gourmet workers in June to reject a ballot for changes in working practices and sick pay, the company were on red alert.
Red alert meant they were ready for strike action to take place over any new proposals in working practices they planned to carry out.
Gate Gourmet management employed ISS security guards and called in riot police to disperse a group of roughly two hundred middle-aged Asian ladies sitting in the canteen.
Born agreed under questioning that the management had stated that the workers must go back to work or be sacked.
Born stated that TGWU union convener Dhillon offered to help get the workforce to return to work if the threat of dismissal was removed by the management.
Born also confirmed that the management refused to do this.
The hearing continues today.