Friday, August 26, 2005
Big up to Unite Here, the American hospitality workers' union, which is threatening solidarity action against Gate Gourmet if they don't reinstate all the Heathrow workers recently sacked by megaphone for a strike they were blatantly provoked into by management.
In a letter to Gate Gourmet's chairman and chief executive, David Seigel, Mr Rayner says: "I write to express Unite Here's unyielding support for the Transport & General Workers Union members negotiating with Gate Gourmet in the UK.Boo, and indeed yah. Lovely to see Americans taking solicitous note of comrades outside our borders once in a while.
"As you know, Unite Here and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters have been negotiating with Gate Gourmet on behalf of over 6,000 members working at your US kitchens.
"Let there be no doubt, we consider your assault on the union employees in London to be an assault on union members everywhere. We are outraged by such immoral behaviour and we expect that you will resolve this dispute by reinstating all of the fired workers. Failure to resolve the matter in the UK will certainly cause the unrest to spread across the Atlantic as our members will be forced to take every lawful measure possible to support our fellow union members."
Referring to the London dispute, Mr Rayner said his members "want to make sure Gate Gourmet knows we will not tolerate such actions in the US, the UK, or anywhere else in the world".
Meanwhile, Gate Gourmet and T & G appear to have reached some sort of preliminary agreement to offer voluntary redundancy to all its workers, including all 670 sacked. GG is avowedly hoping the 'troublemakers' it's been holding out against rehiring will take the redundancy offer, but won't say how it will respond should they decline.
And finally, Polly Toynbee has strangely not-half-bad things to say about it all. Go figure.
Oh, one more thing: neither the NYT nor the WaPo makes any mention of Unite Here's action, though both cover the latest in the GG/T&G talks. Unsurprising, to say the least.