Gate Gourmet dispute 2005

Return to Gate Gourmet!

Over the decades much of the British labour movement has come to celebrate the stormy Grunwick strike of 1976-78. That does not mean the dominant forces in our movement have absorbed what was important about it. Not 45, but just 16 years ago in 2005, another struggle by mainly South Asian, migrant women workers flared up. The fight of the Gate Gourmet airline catering workers against what is now called “fire and rehire” and against union-busting had important similarities with and differences from Grunwick. Although it did elicit important solidarity action, it did not produce the kind of...

Trade unions and neoliberalism

Elliott Robinson reviews Trade Unions in a Neoliberal World: British Trade Unions under New Labour, Gary Daniels and John McIlroy (eds), Routledge. (See pdf version of Solidarity 3/146, p9, for the tables of figures referred to in this article.) -- “The trade union is not a predetermined institution, i.e. it takes on a definite historical form to the extent that the strength and will of the workers who are its members impress a policy and propose an aim that define it.” Antonio Gramsci, Unions and Councils, 12 June 1920 “If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favourable”...

Gate Gourmet: still stalled

By Colin Foster British Airways finally signed a new catering contract with Gate Gourmet on 20 October, and over the days since then there has been some movement on the deal supposedly made by Gate Gourmet with the TGWU on 26 September to end the lock-out of GG workers at Heathrow. But no worker has yet been reinstated, and it is still not clear when, or whether, any workers will be reinstated. Gate Gourmet has now sent out letters to workers named for compulsory redundancy. These letters offer them a pay-off in return for signing away any rights to legal action against Gate Gourmet, not only...

Why students should support Gate Gourmet workers

By Daniel Randall (NUS National Executive, personal capacity) In my last column I wrote about the need for students to unite with workers on their campuses to fight back against attacks they both face. But student-worker unity cannot stop here. It must extend beyond the boundaries of our campuses and into wider struggles in society. After some procrastination (including one National Executive meeting that lasted six hours but failed to discuss a single motion), the NUS finally — at the beginning of October and two months into the dispute — came out in support of the Gate Gourmet workers. When...

Gate Gourmet: the workers still need our support

By Emma Parsons The Gate Gourmet catering workers at Heathrow Airport, London, remain locked out, months after being sacked and three weeks after they voted for a deal they thought would end the dispute. The latest news, as of 18 October, is that BA may refuse to sign a new contract with Gate Gourmet to provide meals for its flights. This contract was a key part of the deal the TGWU leadership promoted. The leadership was apparently so confident that they had secured a three-way agreement (union/BA/GG) that Tony Woodley himself explained the deal to the workers at the mass meeting on 28...

Labour conference says scrap anti-union laws, stop NHS privatisation, defend pensions/ MAKE THE UNION LEADERS FIGHT

Tensions between the Labour Party leaders and the trade unions are being forced centre stage by events. The Labour Government has declared war on public services. They are set to massively increase private sector involvement in the health service. They want an expansion of “independent” Academy schools. They are attacking public sector pensions. They look set to privatise the Post Office. But at this year’s Labour Party conference the four motions submitted by the trade unions to the conference opposed large parts of the Government’s agenda. The Labour leaders tried to see off the trade union...

BA pursues retreating TGWU with court action - Gate Gourmet activists sacked

By Alan Porter Under a deal negotiated by the TGWU — and announced to the press before consulting its members — just 187 of 713 workers sacked by Gate Gourmet the airline catering company based at Heathrow, back in August will be reinstated. 382 are set to accept voluntary redundancy, and 144 to suffer compulsory redundancy. The 144 include seven workers, two of them stewards, whom the company to as the most militant union activists. This deal was accepted by the vast majority of the workers at a mass meeting. Many workers will feel vindicated in their action — some workers have been...

Gate Gourmet deal means only 187 of 713 workers reinstated

Under pressure from TGWU officials - who had announced to the press, before consulting the union members, that they had a deal - the locked-out Gate Gourmet workers have accepted a deal which loses most of their jobs and sees the union activists sacked. The Financial Times (29 September) reports: Under the deal, 397 of the 713 sacked workers will be given the option of having their job back or accepting compensation. Some 210 of these have previously signalled that they might accept the compensation package... Another 172 workers... have definitely indicated they would not return to work and...

Gate Gourmet Workers Need Solidarity Action

By Chris Hickey TUC congress expressed “profound anger” at the dismissal of Gate Gourmet airline-catering workers at Heathrow Airport, who were sacked by their employers simply in order to replace them all by agency workers on worse pay and conditions. It called on the Government “…to permit lawful supportive action, simplify balloting procedures, protect strikers from dismissal, and bar the replacement of workers in dispute; and also to seek implementation urgently of the European Union temporary agency worker directive.” The TUC General Council had previously endorsed a letter with similar...

"Solidarity strikes must be legalised"

"Solidarity will have to be legalised", wrote Tony Woodley in the Guardian on 15 August [2005]. His comment came after workers at British Airways had staged a walkout in support of Gate Gourmet catering workers, summarily sacked by bosses who wanted to replace them with cheaper more flexible workers [pictured above]. Woodley was absolutely right. The solidarity action of BA workers called for courage and sacrifice. The walkouts were doubly illegal: they were not the subject of a ballot and they were “secondary”. With a union movement under the cosh of the anti-union laws, and with workers at...

This website uses cookies, you can find out more and set your preferences here.
By continuing to use this website, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms & Conditions.