Break down in talks leaves Gate Gourmet on brink

Crunch talks between airline caterers Gate Gourmet and a union representing
670 sacked workers have broken down, with the US company warning that without a
deal the business could be forced into administration.

Both Gate Gourmet and the Transport and General Workers Union had earlier
stressed that they hoped to reach an agreement, but Gate Gourmet warned that
without a deal, ‘the most likely outcome would be that the business would be
forced into administration’.

The company sacked 670 staff from its airline meals service last Wednesday in
a dispute over restructuring, but a statement entitled ‘Union causes failure of
ACAS talks’, said that while an agreement was reached on ‘most issues’, it was
‘not willing to reinstate employees that instigated or incited illegal action’.

‘The company will not allow itself to be continually put at risk and held to
ransom by this type of illegal action,’ the statement said.

The statement added that it would continue to ‘build up its service levels’
over the forthcoming weeks in order to ‘maintain a chance of survival’.

The company lost £25m at its Heathrow operation last year, and maintains that
changes in working practices are needed. Earlier this week it said that it
needed to save £14m on labour at Heathrow this year.

Eric Born, managing director of Gate Gourmet UK said: ‘This is a very sad day
for all concerned at Gate Gourmet, I am utterly stunned and disappointed at the
attitude of the union, and the way it has acted.

‘It is clear that the TGWU does not have the travelling public’s interest at
heart. I would just like to thank the staff that did not take illegal action and
for the contribution they have made to the service of our customers over the
last six days.’

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