SUPPORT GROWING FOR GATE GOURMET LOCKED-OUT WORKERS – as Gate Gourmet Australia forced to settle

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Gate Gourmet locked-out workers are campaigning for their monthly mass picket next Sunday from 11am to 1pm at the Beacon roundabout, Beacon Road, near Heathrow Terminal 4, whilst also maintaining their daily picket.

Lakhinder Saran spoke enthusiastically to News Line yesterday about last Friday’s support received from the Hounslow Local Government UNISON branch annual general meeting.

She said: ‘We were so pleased they invited us and supported us.

‘They listened hard, they know what the T&G leadership did to us was not right.

‘The T&G leadership promised to support us until we win. But they are not supporting us at all.

‘They stopped our hardship a pay on 6th January and when we go to the T&G office, there is no-one there to see us.

‘We’ve had lots of support from T&G and other union members and branches and we are calling on them all to join our mass picket next Sunday, and to march with us through Hounslow on the 25th March.’

Civil servants union PCS west London branch organiser Barry Murphy told News Line: ‘I think the T&G has actually let these members down.

‘No union in the world should sign an agreement making members redundant.

‘I certainly would not agree to my members being made redundant.

‘We are coming out on strike again against job losses next month.

‘These workers are right to fight for all their jobs back, and the union should pay them hardship pay.

‘All unions have vast sums of money. When members are fighting for their jobs, many are in real hardship. It’s a disgrace the union leaders have withdrawn their vast resources from these members and are trying to starve them into submission.

‘I will be at next Sunday’s mass picket with the Ealing trades council banner.’

• FORMER Australian employees of Gate Gourmet – an in-flight catering company associated with Ansett whose business crashed with the airline – have won back outstanding entitlements after a five-year campaign.

Announcing the win, Tony Sheldon, State Secretary of the Transport Workers Union, said that the only reason Gate Gourmet was able to avoid its financial responsibilities was because the Federal Government refused to legislate to protect workers’ entitlements when a company goes bust.

‘This is a story of how unions can successfully apply enough pressure to win back for workers what is rightfully theirs,’ Sheldon said.

The outstanding entitlements will be repaid in two tranches. The first, which is 60 per cent of the amount owed, has already been paid and the second, which will take the amount up to 90 per cent of the money owed, will be paid in April.