‘We continue to picket, despite the cold!’

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Locked Out Gate Gourmet workers are calling on all trade unionists to attend their Conference in London on Sunday the 29th of January.

More than 700 members of the Transport and General Workers Union (TGWU) were sacked by the airline catering company on the 10th of August.

The company and the union leaders then signed the notorious ‘Compromise Agreement’ which agreed to 144 compulsory redundancies, and re-engagement for a few on inferior terms and conditions under the company’s ‘Survival Plan’.

Speaking on the picket line at Heathrow Airport yesterday, TGWU member Mrs Lakhvinder Saran told News line: People have been told by the union that everything is settled, but nothing has been settled.

‘We are looking forward to our conference and we want people to hear the truth about the situation and fight for our victory.

‘We are here on the picket line and it is freezing cold. Tomorrow it is going to be minus one, but we are still standing here strongly, fighting for our rights.’

Mrs Amarwant Kaur added: ‘Brendan Gold (TGWU Civil Aviation Organiser) and Tony Woodley (TGWU General Secretary) said on the 28th of November, that everything would be finished by the 16th of December.

‘We said: “No. Nothing is finished”.

‘When we went to the union central office Brendan Gold said he had no time to speak to us, he was busy and that he had another meeting to go to.

‘We said: “No! We pay your wages and you must listen to us.”

‘They signed the deal without asking us.’

She continued: ‘When I went to the Regional Office in Hillingdon on the 22nd of December, Oliver Richardson, (TGWU Regional Officer) said that I could see the union solicitor if I wanted to sign the deal.

‘I said: “I don’t want to sign the deal, but I want to see the solicitor as is my right because I pay into the union. I had a couple of questions for the solicitor about a letter I had received from Gate Gourmet.”

‘It said I could apply for re-engagement or money.

‘I said: “I don’t want re-engagement. I want reinstatement on my original terms and conditions.”

‘I was on my rest day when I was dismissed… I am going to my employment tribunal to fight my case and I want the union to fight for my reinstatement.

‘We are very strong.

‘We won’t sell our jobs’.

Raj said: ‘Our conference is very important for us. We want people to know the truth.

‘We have been picked for compulsory redundancy because we are experienced workers and the company wants to bring in cheap labour.

‘And our own union leaders have signed the Compromise Agreement and have said we must accept it. But we won’t accept. I need my job.’