Mass Picket For Victory For Gate Gourmet Workers

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‘WELCOME to all of you. We are very proud of all of you,’ Parmjit Bains told a rally on the hill near the Gate Gourmet factory at Heathrow yesterday.

The locked out Gate Gourmet worker was addressing an over 100-strong mass picket of Gate Gourmet workers and supporters.

The workers were locked out in a union busting operation by Gate Gourmet on August 10th.

They are opposing the ‘Compromise Agreement’ made by the TGWU leaders which sells out their jobs and their wages and conditions to the employer.

Parmjit continued: ‘We are sticking together. We will definitely get victory.

‘We can show the company and the TGWU leaders we are not for sale.

‘We will fight with all our might. We will not sign the “Compromise Agreement’’, and we all want our jobs back on our original terms and conditions.’

At yesterday’s picket there were banners from Hounslow UNISON and the All Trades Union Alliance, along with the Justice for Gate Gourmet Workers banner. And among the delegations of workers present were contingents from IBC Vehicles in Luton, the CWU postal workers’ union in Hemel Hempstead and south-west London, and some of those who took part in the Hillingdon Hospital workers’ strike.

Father Christmas brought boxes of presents for the locked-out workers and youth from the Young Socialists also joined the picket.

Fellow Locked-out Gate Gourmet worker Harbinder Singh said: ‘Thankyou everybody for coming to support the Gate Gourmet locked out workers.

‘Our struggle is not finished yet. We are not signing the “Compromise Agreement’’.

‘It is not for the workers, it’s for the company.

‘We will fight for justice.

‘We need your support as long as we are locked out.’

Richard Lugg, of Hounslow UNISON, said: ‘It’s a cold Christmas but there’s nothing better than fighting for your rights.

‘We look forward to continuing to support you.’

Dave Wiltshire, national secretary of the All Trades Union Alliance, said: ‘We are inspired by your fight.

‘You have shown that the working class and yourselves are much stronger than these rotten union leaders.

‘The working class is fed up with them. You have dealt a colossal blow to Woodley. The “Compromise Agreement’’ is dead in the water.

‘It was Woodley’s agreement and you have shoved it down his throat. He has to go.

‘You have the right to call out the whole working class behind you to get your jobs back on your original terms and conditions.’

Rob Bolton, Hemel Hempstead CWU, said: ‘I’ve been sent here to bring solidarity.

‘We are also going into a fight for jobs.

‘Gate Gourmet has treated you as slaves.

‘But we are not slaves, we are trade unionists.

‘No trade union leader has the right to give up your rights.

‘If they won’t fight, then they have to go.

‘Woodley has no right to sell your jobs.

‘My branch will continue to back your struggle until your victory.’

Before the rally, the locked out workers and their supporters were shouting: ‘Gate Gourmet – shame, shame!’ ‘Tony Woodley – shame, shame!’ ‘Brendan Gold – shame, shame!’ ‘We are not for sale!’ ‘We are not slaves!’ ‘Compromise deal – no way!’ and ‘We want our jobs back!’