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Gate Gourmet staff frustrated after contract delays

18 October 2005

MPs and Union officials have accused in-flight caterer Gate Gourmet of dragging its heels over signing new staff contracts.

Although the company and its employees at Heathrow agreed a deal last month after an acrimonious struggle, those staff remaining at the company are still waiting for official documents.

The delay has prompted several MPs to release an Early Day Motion at Parliament criticising the delay and calling on the Department for Trade and Industry to step in if necessary.

It came after Brendan Gold, Transport and General Workers (T&G) union's national secretary for civil aviation, said on Friday: "All that this delay] is creating as far as we are concerned is a mounting degree of frustration amongst our people. It is time for those delays to stop and for the contract to be signed."

The ongoing conflict between caterer Gate Gourmet and British Airways is said to come to an end today as the companies are expected to sign their new catering contract.

However, a spokesman for the T&G told CatererSearch that following pressure from union leaders and MPs it was likely the contracts would now be signed today.

Under the terms of the negotiated settlement, Gate Gourmet is cutting 670 jobs to return its UK operation to profit. The 667 workers sacked in the summer, whose dismissal sparked sympathy strikes from baggage holders working for customer British Airways severely disrupting flights, will either get their jobs back or voluntary redundancy payments.

By Kerstin Kuhn

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