LOCKED out Gate Gourmet workers spoke out angrily yesterday over TGWU officers who are putting pressure on those the company has selected for compulsory redundancy to sign the Compromise Agreement and drop their tribunal proceedings for unfair dismissal.
Speaking on the picket line shop steward Gurdip Heer, said: ‘People at the union office in Hillingdon, including our senior shop stewards, are saying that we don’t need the tent here on the picket line any more, that we should stop picketing and sign the lousy deal.
‘Well I have not signed the Compromise Agreement and I won’t. I’ve worked here for eleven years and I’m fighting for my job back.
‘We’re all fighting together, we’re united and we will not be divided.
‘The boss wants to bring in cheap labour and the union leaders are trying to help him.’
Fellow picket Johil showed News Line a letter he had received yesterday morning inviting him to a meeting with the company tomorrow. The letter stated: ‘Following some further discussions with the union, it had been agreed that interviews can take place with dismissed employees for certain job vacancies.’
It continues: ‘The purpose of the meeting is to consider whether you would be prepared to come back to work for Gate Gourmet in support of the Survival Plan and whether the company would be prepared to consider your re-engagement.
‘If, following the meeting the company wishes to take your application further, then you would be sent a Compromise Agreement. This would have to be signed by you, having taken legal advice on it, as a pre-condition of any job offer.’
Johil told News Line: ‘I’m not signing the Survival Plan which is slavery or the Compromise Agreement which gives up all my rights. When we first came out the union said we must all go back together on our original terms and conditions and that’s what we’re sticking to.’
Jaswinder Singh added: ‘We are not going to sign anything, we are not ready for ‘compromise’, we are still standing for all-out all-in. The company and the union leaders are trying to divide us up but we won’t be divided.’
Fellow picket Parmjit Bains said: ‘The union leaders are trying to wash the brains of the 168 people who have received compulsory redundancy letters, they are trying to get them to give up the fight and sign the Compromise Agreement.
‘They are saying that if they can get fifty per cent of them to sign then the deal will be a success.
‘They are lying and playing with people. Originally they said if one person didn’t sign the deal it would collapse, now they are changing their words.
‘We are very angry with the way they are behaving, we have all put our cases in for Employment Tribunals which we are going to win and we are fighting to make the union take action so that we all go back into our jobs together.’
A TGWU spokeswoman told News Line yesterday that ‘We are getting everybody to sign the compromise agreement so that they can go back to work or take redundancy.’
Asked if the union was asking workers to give up their tribunal claim, she said ‘The claims are only formal’.