TRADE union general secretaries and other delegates to the TUC General Council expressed support, and donated money to the Gate Gourmet locked-out workers who lobbied their meeting in central London yesterday.
The TGWU members were locked out of their jobs at Heathrow Airport by the airline catering company on August 10th last year.
They told delegates that after having been told by their union they would receive no more hardship payments beyond the 6th of January, the union has now announced that they will receive payment for February.
They said that this victory had come through a hard struggle, but that they needed payments to be brought up to date and continued monthly until the dispute ended.
Lesley Auger, NUT, told News Line: ‘They need to be sustained for the whole of their dispute until it’s sorted out. They can’t be expected to sustain themselves and live on nothing. Many of these people are hardly earning a living wage when they are in work, there ought to have been a lot more thought into the repercussions of signing the Compromise Agreement with the company.’
NUJ General Secretary Jeremy Dear said: ‘Clearly they need the support of the whole trade union movement. It’s important that we support those who are standing up for the principles on which the movement was founded. If I am free I will come to their anniversary rally in August.’
POA General Secretary Brian Caton said: ‘I spoke at the last Congress in Brighton in the Gate Gourmet debate. Our union has raised money locally and nationally and it seems to me we should be supporting workers, not appearing to let them down and I will do my best to impress that on the General Council.’
Taking a leaflet ATL delegate Mary Bousted said: ‘I will talk to Tony Woodley (TGWU General Secretary) about what I’m reading here.’
Equity General Secretary Christine Payne said: ‘I support these workers. They have fought bravely for a long time.’
Mohamed Taj, TGWU delegate from Yorkshire and Humberside said: ‘I am proud to support these workers and it’s in my diary to come to their anniversary rally on the 20th of August.’
PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka said: ‘These workers must be supported and sustained until their dispute is over.’
After the lobby locked-out workers spoke to News Line. Parmjeet Sidhu said: ‘Tony Woodley stormed past, he’s scared of us, he didn’t want to talk to us and he certainly didn’t want his picture taken.’
Parminder Brar said: ‘Woodley didn’t put a penny in our buckets he doesn’t want to know us. Other trade union leaders were very generous and they were shocked, they said they thought we were back at work.
‘When we went to the TUC in Brighton last year they voted to give us full support. We showed them today that we are still out and that we have been let down.’
Raj Sahdev said: ‘People were very interested in reading our leaflet, they wanted to know what was going on.’
Asha Varma said: ‘We did well today and tomorrow we’re going to Reading to the Employment Tribunal to view the film the company is supposed to have made when we were locked in the canteen on the 10th of August.’ She added: ‘I know we are going to win this struggle.’