TRANSPORT and General Workers Union general secretary Tony Woodley led a delegation into talks with British Airways chief Rod Eddington at Heathrow Airport yesterday afternoon.
Before entering the talks, Woodley and TGWU national secretary for Civil Aviation, Brendan Gold, visited the 300-strong picket of locked out Gate Gourmet workers on the airport perimeter.
Woodley told his members: ‘As you know talks with Gate Gourmet have broken down, which makes it very difficult for us.
‘Gate Gourmet offered selective reinstatement which means of course selective sacking of people. I’m just going in for a meeting with BA chairman Rod Eddington.’
Woodley continued: ‘This won’t be another Skychef situation where you were out for over a year.
‘If you win you will win in one or two weeks and if you lose you will lose in one or two weeks.’
When questioned by News Line, Woodley answered: ‘No we will not be balloting our members at BA, ballot them for what? Are you trying to get me locked up?’
Questioned by pickets, Brendan Gold said: ‘This is not official action, no.’
He went on to claim: ‘You came out on illegal unofficial strike.’
Commenting on the meeting between the union leaders and BA, TGWU member Naz said: ‘Our shop stewards committee should make our negotiators tell BA that either we are reinstated in our jobs on the old terms and conditions within 24 hours or we will call the whole airport out.’
Picket John Mead, said: ‘We want our jobs back straightaway.
‘Gate Gourmet is threatening to liquidate the company rather than have us back.
‘The union must stop this in its tracks. The company should be nationalised and the whole airport should be nationalised as well.
‘They must tell BA it’s reinstatement now or they will regret it.’
Another picket Eric Paul said: ‘Two days ago BA said they would not renew the contract with Gate Gourmet after 2006.
‘Then yesterday they said that they would renew it until 2010.
‘At the moment there is only water and tea going on to BA flights, they are giving vouchers to passengers to buy their own food.
‘BA is suffering. If we go down the bosses will be able to do the same to anyone, nobody is safe in the catering or any other industry.
‘We can’t sit at home and accept what’s happened to us, we can’t lay down and accept the sack.
‘We don’t want to inconvenience passengers but we have to do more than just deny them sandwiches or food on the flight.
‘We need to get the support we need to win. We want the other airport workers to come out to support us.’
• Second news story
‘SUSPEND SHOOT TO KILL POLICY’
The family of Jean Charles de Menezes yesterday called for the police shoot-to-kill policy to be suspended.
This followed revelations that the innocent young Brazilian was shot dead without any police challenge.
De Menezes’ cousin Allessandro Pereira said: ‘They killed my cousin, they could kill anyone, any English person.
‘My family deserve the full truth about his murder.
‘Everything we have said has been proved to be true.
‘Jean was an innocent man who was shot in cold blood.
‘We now know that he wasn’t wearing a bulky jacket, that he wasn’t acting suspiciously or that he was told to stop by the police.
‘He was being restrained when he was shot and killed.’
Asad Rehman, spokesman for the Justice4Jean Family Campaign said: ‘The overwhelming majority of the people of London join us in believing that there can be no alternative but the immediate suspension of the shoot-to-kill policy before another innocent Londoner becomes its victim.
‘The home secretary must now use his powers to order a full judicial inquiry into the killing. This is the minimum required.
‘We must show that nobody is above the law and that those responsible for the killing will be identified and brought to justice.’
Harriet Wistrich, solicitor for the de Menezes family, urged a review of the shoot-to-kill policy.
She asked: ‘What sort of society are we living in where we can execute suspects?
‘The information that was first put out is almost entirely wrong and misleading. There was no suggestion that this person was a suspect in any way, that he was running from the police.’