Airline caterer Gate Gourmet breaks even through improved productivity

The catering firm at the centre of last summer’s dispute at Heathrow Airport has said it should break even during its current financial year.

Gate Gourmet sacked 700 staff last August at the airport in a row over changes to working practices.

The move, which the firm said was vital to help it return to profitability, was quickly followed by a sympathy walkout by British Airways ground staff.

Gate Gourmet eventually reached a deal with the strikers to end the dispute. Under the agreement, hundreds of the staff accepted the offer of redundancy payments.

The caterer now employs 881 workers at Heathrow out of a total of 2,361 across the UK and the Republic of Ireland.

It said new working practices and better productivity were now continuing to improve its finances.

“There is still a long way to go but we are now seeing real improvements in productivity at Gate Gourmet,” said managing director Eric Born.

“The changes we’ve been making to working practices are clearly paying off. Sickness is falling and productivity is rising.”

The company’s vice-president of HR told Personnel Today earlier this year that the dispute resulted in half its HR team leaving.

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