‘THE Tolpuddle Martyrs were called troublemakers and were transported to Australia.
‘We were called troublemakers and sacked,’ Parmjeet Sidhu said at the Gate Gourmet locked-out workers’ weekly picket of the Transport and General Workers Union regional office, in Hillingdon, near Heathrow Airport yesterday.
Parmjeet told News Line that a delegation of the locked-out workers will be joining the Tolpuddle Martyrs’ anniversary rally in Dorset tomorrow.
She said: ‘We want to see our fellow trade unionists and tell them what is happening to us.
‘We were locked out last August and the union said it would fight until we all got our jobs back. But then the union leaders signed a deal with the company accepting 150 compulsory redundancies and slave conditions for those who return.
‘Now when we see Woodley (TGWU General Secretary) he hides his face from us. We are going to our employment tribunals for unfair dismissal later this year and we are going to win them.
‘The union, however, has not paid us any hardship payments since January. One month ago they promised to pay us February’s hardship payment but we’ve still had nothing.
‘When we tell trade unionists what has happened to us they are shocked and they support us.
‘We want to invite all trade unionists to join us at our anniversary march and rally in Southall on Sunday 20th of August.’
Locked-out worker Jaswinder Kumar went inside the union office to apply for February’s hardship payment.
He said: ‘I gave my name in and she said she was going to hand it in to the office, but that there is no guarantee whether they are going to pay or not.
‘I’ve been very sick since I’ve been out of work. I’ve had depression and stress and lots of infections and it’s all because of the worry.
‘I’ve had my appendix out, I’m not getting anything from the Job Centre, I’ve got two children and a third on the way and the union tells me I have to come in here and beg for February’s hardship payment and there is no guarantee.
‘This is disgusting, when we were first locked out the union leaders all came to the picket and said they would do everything for us and wouldn’t let us down, where are they now?’
Mussarat Saeed told News Line: ‘We are still united, still fighting and we are not going to give up.’
Raj Sahdev said: ‘We have been attacked on every side, first the company sacked us for no reason, then the union leaders signed the Compromise Agreement, they really stabbed us in the back.
Everyone should join our march, we get nothing from the Job Centre and we are really struggling.’
Rajany Sharma added: ‘The union leaders should fight like the Tolpuddle Martyrs, not like the people who sent them to Australia.’