‘WE have got more and more support for our fight to get our jobs back’, locked out Gate Gourmet worker Palmjit Bains told News Line yesterday, on the eve of tomorrow’s march through Southall.
‘People are disgusted that our own union leaders have turned on us.
‘When we were locked out on August 10th they said they would give us full support but they soon dropped that and took the company’s side.
‘But other leaders and members of our union and in other unions support us and are fighting for us.
‘Tony Woodley and Brendan Gold are trying to put more and more pressure onto people to sign the Compromise Agreement and sign away all of our rights.
‘The Compromise Agreement means hundreds of redundancies with the company being allowed to invite those that it wants, to reapply for re-engagement, as new starters, on much worse terms and conditions.
‘Signing the Compromise Agreement means signing away the right to employment tribunal claims for unfair dismissal and for the wages that have been lost since we were locked out on August 10.
‘Everybody understands that this deal is rubbish. We invite everyone to come to our rally to show these leaders how much support we have behind us.
‘We are demanding that the dispute is made official, that we get weekly dispute pay, that the hardship fund is distributed to those of us facing severe financial problems, and that the TGWU and the TUC trade unions take action to win our struggle.
‘We want every locked out worker returned to their job on our original wages and conditions of service.’
Fellow locked out worker Umla said: ‘On the 10th of August I was on late shift, when I arrived at work security stopped us and said everyone was suspended. My friends on early shift had been locked in the canteen and then escorted out by private security officers.
‘The company locked us out because it wanted to bring in lower paid agency people. The union leaders started off by saying that what the company did was wrong but now they are siding with the company.
‘I’ve worked at Gate Gourmet for eight years and I have to take them to the employment court. They are writing to us asking us to drop the case but we won’t. We have to win our jobs back and defend our rights.’
Jasbir Dosangh urged: ‘Please everyone come and give us good support on Sunday so we win our jobs back.’
Chanan Rattu said: ‘The company have sent me the Compromise Agreement and are asking me to drop the case and sign away all my rights but I’m not going to sign, it’s nothing for me. I want my lost wages and my job back on the same terms and conditions.
‘We remind the union that we want the picket line to continue until the dispute is finished, we want shelter and heat and proper dispute pay.’
The locked out workers have been campaigning throughout Southall, Hounslow, Hayes, Greenford, Ealing and other areas for their march tomorrow.
Yesterday on the busy Southall Broadway, many people stopped to express their support.
TGWU member Kanna said: ‘I work as a loader at Fernley cleaning the flights at Heathrow. We all support the struggle of the locked out Gate Gourmet workers. What happened to them could happen to any of us.’
Cassie told the locked out workers: ‘I work at a nursing home and this is the tactic that they use there. They threaten us with agency staff.
‘The union leaders are trying to sell out these workers, I’ve got friends who work at Heathrow and I’ll bring them with me on the march.
‘Before I heard what you’ve told me I thought everything had been sorted. It’s terrible what the company and the union leaders are doing to you. If they can do it here they will do it anywhere.’