THE locked-out Gate Gourmet workers at Heathrow have stepped up their campaigning ahead of the News Line-Gate Gourmet conference in London this Sunday.
On Wednesday night, a group of them received support at a meeting of Harrow Trades Council and yesterday teams went to a meeting of west London bus workers’ TGWU reps at the union’s office in Hillingdon, as well as selling conference tickets at Hillingdon fire station, library, civic centre, Brunel University and Uxbridge bus garage. Another team spoke at the UNISON branch officers meeting at Hounslow civic centre.
Lakhinder Saran told News Line yesterday: ‘We went to Harrow Trades Council last night and it went very well. A TGWU shop steward told us that he had that day phoned the union head office, to find out what is going on with us, and they wouldn’t tell him anything.
‘At the meeting, we got support from TGWU, GMB, UNISON, PCS and Amicus members. They said they would be sending a letter to the TGWU, asking what is going on.
‘They were very concerned about the union stopping our hardship payments, and they said they would support the conference. Our conference is terribly important for us.’
Parmjit Bains and Jasbir Dosanjh went to Hounslow Council UNISON branch meeting yesterday morning.
Parmjit said: ‘Hounslow UNISON branch was very kind. They gave me time to speak and said that they would pay for the double decker bus, which is taking us to our conference on Sunday.
‘They said that they had been told that our dispute was over. I told them what happened to us on August 10 and how the union signed the “Compromise Agreement’’ without our permission; how they sent us an unsigned letter last week threatening not to pursue our employment tribunal cases.
‘And I told them how yesterday we had been told that there would be no more hardship payments from the union. I am very happy they are supporting us and coming to our conference.’
Jasbir said: ‘They were shocked at what we said and how the union is supporting the company, not the members. They said that they would come to our conference. It is very important to us.’
Meanwhile, on the picket line at Heathrow airport, Sukhvinder said: ‘This move to stop our hardship payments makes our conference this Sunday even more important. We need people’s help to change the decision. We need the hardship money increased, not stopped.’