Caterer threatens to go into administration in BA food dispute

British Airways has been given just a few hours to agree a deal with catering firm Gate Gourmet or risk the collapse of its in-flight meals service.

Heathrow-based Gate Gourmet has threatened to call in the administrators if a deal is not agreed by 5.00pm today.

It says BA has offered to pay more money for its meals, but the airline insists there will be no deal unless Gate Gourmet changes its working practices.

The Transport & General Workers’ Union (T&G) is demanding the caterer reinstates all the workers who were sacked following a long-running dispute over redundancies which led to the the recent wildcat strike.

Gate Gourmet is considering reinstating two-thirds of the workers, but its chairman, David Siegel, insisted that around 200 “troublemakers” would not get their jobs back. “There are some real militant elements, some real troublemakers that led that action, and they will never come back to the company,” he told BBC Radio Five Live.

At a meeting yesterday, the unions accused the company of using the threat of administration as a means to push BA into a deal.

T&G general secretary Tony Woodley urged BA not to “cave in” during its talks with Gate Gourmet. Woodley said he was seriously exploring the possibility of balloting for industrial action among remaining union members employed at Gate Gourmet.

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