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Gate Gourmet workers on strike in Germany !

Posted to the IUF website 17-Oct-2005

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Gate Gourmet workers at D�sseldorf airport walked out at the start of the early shift on October 7.

While the ink was still drying on an agreement to settle the Gate Gourmet dispute at London's Heathrow airport, a fresh dispute involving the airline caterer broke out at D�sseldorf airport when workers went on strike on 7 October following a deadlock in collective bargaining.

Negotiations for the renewal of the collective agreement began in August with the German food and restaurant workers union NGG calling for a wage increase of 4.5% to cover inflation plus compensate for increasingly onerous working conditions. In response, Gate Gourmet demanded concessions in the areas of working hours, holiday leave and shift premiums. When the negotiating committee refused to enter into discussions on these issues - many of which are not subject to negotiations at company level but are negotiated at sectoral level - Gate Gourmet evoked the threat of redundancies.

About 90 workers are now on strike at D�sseldorf airport, where a permanent picket has been set up. The NGG produces a daily newsletter containing interviews with striking workers and updates on the effect of the strike on Gate Gourmet's customers at D�sseldorf airport, holiday airline LTU, Turkish Airlines and Air France. The striking workers have received support from LTU cabin crew and passengers have expressed understanding and support for their demands.


As of October 21, after 14 days of strike action, management has made no effort to resolve this conflict. The NGG is now calling for protest letters to be sent to Gate Gourmet and to its parent company, the Texas Pacific Group.

Model letter

Gate Gourmet Germany
Fax: +49 69 9695 0407

Paul Lilley, President Gate Gourmet Division Europe
Fax: +41 1 810 91 75

Texas Pacific Group
Fax: +1 817 871 4001

Dear Madam/Sir

I am writing to express my concern over the situation at Gate Gourmet at D�sseldorf airport, where 80 workers are on strike, and my disappointment over the manner in which your company is treating these workers. Their union, the NGG, is bargaining for increased wages after having held back on wage demands for two years. In response, your company is demanding increased cuts, e.g., in holiday leave entitlement. The loss in sales occasioned by the strike together with the added expense of hiring subcontracted workers and security staff already far outweigh the cost of the wage increase for one year.

It would appear that, in the interest of your reputation as an employer and out of concern for your customers, airline passengers and the public, you would want this dispute to be settled as quickly as possible. I call on you to use your influence to ensure that your management enters into good faith negotiations with the union and carries them to a positive conclusion.

I am looking forward to hearing from you about progress in settling this dispute.

Your sincerely,

Model letter in German

Sehr geehrte Damen und Herren,

am Flughafen in D�sseldorf befinden sich seit dem 07. Oktober 80 Mitarbeiterinnen und Mitarbeiter von Gate Gourmet in einem unbefristeten Streik. Ich schreibe Ihnen, um meine Besorgnis und Best�rzung dar�ber zum Ausdruck zu bringen, wie hier seitens Ihres Unternehmens mit den Mitarbeiterinnen und Mitarbeitern in D�sseldorf umgegangen wird. Die Gewerkschaft Nahrung-Genuss-Gastst�tten (NGG) fordert f�r die Mitarbeiter eine Lohnerh�hung, nachdem diese bereits zwei Jahre lang auf Entgeltbestandteile verzichtet haben. Statt dessen verlangt Ihr Unternehmen weitere K�rzungen, z.B. beim Urlaub. Die Umsatzausf�lle durch den Streik, die Zusatzkosten f�r Leiharbeitnehmer und Security gehen bereits jetzt weit �ber die Kosten hinaus, die die Lohnforderung der Gewerkschaft f�r ein Jahr bedeuten w�rde.

Ich erwarte, dass Sie mit R�cksicht auf Ihr Ansehen als Arbeitgeber, gegen�ber Ihren Kunden, den Flugg�sten und der �ffentlichkeit darauf einwirken, dass Ihr Unternehmen in faire Verhandlungen mit der Gewerkschaft Nahrung Genuss Gastst�tten eintritt und sie zu einem guten Ergebnis f�hren.

�ber eine Antwort Ihrerseits in dieser dringlichen Angelegenheit w�rde ich mich freuen.

Mit freundlichen Gr��en

Solidarity messages go a long way in giving the striking workers the support they need to carry on the fight. Please send messages to the NGG at [email protected] with a copy to the IUF secretariat at [email protected].

As in the dispute at Heathrow, it is clear that Gate Gourmet is putting the screws on its workforce to squeeze out higher returns for its owner, the US-based investment firm Texas Pacific Group. The Gate Gourmet workers at Heathrow and their union, the T&G, fought an exemplary battle and received encouragement and backing from supporters the world over. Now Gate Gourmet workers in Germany and their union, the NGG, have taken up the banner in a struggle which is taking on widespread proportions.

The IUF thanks you in advance for your solidarity and support.