AROUND 150 locked-out Gate Gourmet workers and their supporters – including members of the PCS, CWU, UNISON and Amicus trade unions – staged a mass picket on Beacon Hill roundabout at Heathrow yesterday.
There was hot tea and lots of food, including sweets donated by Gate Gourmet strikers in Germany, to keep up the spirits of everyone on the picket as it began to snow.
Scores of motorists and lorry drivers tooted their horns in support of the locked-out workers, as they shouted slogans including: ‘Gate Gourmet – down, down!’, ‘Tony Woodley – out, out!’, ‘Compromise Agreement – no way!’, and ‘Slavery – no way!’
Barry Murphy, PCS west London branch organiser, told News Line: ‘I think you have to admire workers like these. They are sticking up for their rights against a very intransigent power.
‘Considering their union, the T&G, has vast sums of money, these people – who are actually standing up for the union’s principles – should be getting hardship pay.
‘Other trade unionists are here, like myself from the PCS, because we think it’s our duty to support the locked-out workers.’
Amarjit Mehan, former TGWU branch chair at the Gate Gourmet QCW site, said: ‘Gate Gourmet’s actions disgust me. They have treated the workers so unfairly and so unjustly. It makes you think what have we come to?’
Locked out worker Parmjit Sidhu said: ‘Tony Woodley (TGWU general secretary) said before, that we came out together and we’ll go inside together.
‘After he said that, he didn’t take our side and the company chose 144 people without reason for compulsory redundancy, after we refused to sign the “Compromise Agreement’’.’
Victor Mann, a retired member of Amicus, from Harrow, said: ‘It’s very important the working class wins this fight.
‘The union should immediately restore the hardship pay and call a strike of the whole TGWU to support the locked-out workers.’
Salvinder Dhillon, from the Indian Workers Association, said: ‘The trade union should be giving the locked out workers their hardship pay back, make the dispute official and give them financial support.’
Rob Bolton, CWU delivery office rep, South Central No.1 branch, said: ‘The Gate Gourmet workers have been attacked and it’s the responsibility of the whole trade union movement to defend them and help them win their dispute.
‘It’s a scandal the way they’ve been abandoned and betrayed by their union leadership and the TUC should be forced to support them until victory.’
Locked-out worker, Satwant Uppal, said: ‘I’m very pleased with the turn-out today. Everybody is supporting us.
‘We have to stand for this and we will win one day, I hope.’
‘They won’t stop me fighting for my rights,’ insisted another locked-out worker, Mohinder Virk.