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Gate Gourmet dispute ended

29 September 2005

Airline caterer Gate Gourmet and the T&G union have resolved their long-running dispute.

T&G general secretary Tony Woodley confirmed in a statement today, that Gate Gourmet staff at Heathrow airport had voted overwhelmingly to accept their employer's compromise deal.

Woodley said: "Members have accepted a settlement that will see the majority of our members going back to work or taking voluntary separation."

Gate Gourmet employed 1,400 workers at Heathrow but sacked 667 of them in August after they went out on unofficial strike action.

After fraught negotiations with British Airways it managed to renegotiate its contract to provide in-flight catering with the airline but said it needed to shed 670 jobs to return to profit at its UK operation.

The T&G has since received around 670 voluntary redundancy letters drawn from sacked and remaining staff at Heathrow.

It is thought up to 400 of the sacked workers could return to their jobs as part of the deal.

A major stumbling block throughout the talks had been Gate Gourmet's refusal to reinstate about 100 activists, which the caterer accused of causing unrest.

Under the terms of the agreement, the activists will now have representation and access to an appeals procedure, with at least the guarantee of compensation.

By Chris Druce

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