Sackings leave BA’s caterer several sandwiches short

British Airways long-haul passengers have been told to bring their own packed lunches after the airline’s catering contractors Gate Gourmet sacked hundreds of workers.

Police were called to the works canteen near Heathrow’s Terminal Four yesterday after 350 staff on the early shift staged a sit-in. A second batch of around 150 sackings was carried out by megaphone in the car park.

Gate Gourmet, which has supplied BA’s catering since 1997, accused staff – members of the Transport & General Workers Union (T&G) – of taking part in unballoted industrial action.

But the union said the company had carried out a premeditated lock out, claiming that dismissal letters were ready for staff when they arrived for work.

The dispute centres on the firm’s plans to change working practices which, it said, will help it turn around estimated annual losses of £25m. It said inflexibility had led to staff being paid a full day’s wage for half a day’s work.

The T&G said its members had been incensed by the hiring of casual staff at a time when the company was looking to cut jobs.

Around 10,000 passengers on long-haul BA flights have been affected by the dispute.

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