Gate Gourmet Timeline
British Airways sells its in–house catering operations to Gate Gourmet.
Under pressure to cut costs, Gate Gourmet, the world’s second biggest supplier of in–flight meals, reports first loss.
Texas Pacific Group buys Gate Gourmet from Swissair.
Union negotiations begin with Gate Gourmet over changing working practices.
Virgin Atlantic cancels contract with Gate Gourmet.
10 August: Workers returning from their tea break find agency staff working on the production line. About 200 workers assemble in the canteen where they are joined by shop stewards. Management warns them twice by megaphone that if they do not resume work immediately they will be sacked. They are held in the canteen for about seven hours and then a lockout is imposed by Gate Gourmet.
British Airways (BA) baggage handlers, bus drivers and ground staff stage solidarity strike action, paralysing flights for 48 hours.
11 August: 300 Gate Gourmet workers reporting for duty are asked to sign a new contract with worse pay and conditions.
12 August: Conciliation service ACAS holds talks between Gate Gourmet and Transport and General Workers Union (TGWU).
12 August: BA staff return to work as their union TGWU declares their secondary strike action is illegal.
26 August: TGWU District Officer Oliver Richardson announces that an agreement has been reached with Gate Gourmet. This offers: reinstatement for some workers (on new terms and conditions), voluntary redundancies for some and compulsory redundancies for others who will be offered compensation..
5 January: British Airways (BA) sacks a second shop steward who had been charged with organising unofficial secondary strike action at Heathrow on August 11th–12th 2005.
25 January: The TGWU hardship fund for Gate Gourmet workers is closed and the last payment is made to the sacked workers still pressing for reinstatement.
March: On the brink of bankruptcy, Gate Gourmet is bought by 40 institutional investors including Merrill Lynch.
18 May: Reading Employment Tribunal hears the claims for unfair dismissal of 37 workers against Gate Gourmet.
12 June: The Employment Tribunal dismisses all but four of the 37 claims for unfair dismissal by sacked Gate Gourmet workers.
6 November: Gate Gourmet admits that it wrongfully dismissed eight workers who had all been off work sick, or on holiday or on compassionate leave on August 10 2005.
15 April: The Employment Tribunal rules that six of the remaining claimants were unfairly dismissed, among them S Dhillon, the union convenor at time of the dispute. It also found that two other shop stewards S Sandhu and H Singh were fairly dismissed because they had participated in unofficial industrial action.
2009: 56 sacked workers continue to reject the compulsory redundancy offer. Since TGWU (now UNITE) withdrew, only Newsline (part of the Workers Revolutionary Party) continues to support them.