View Full Version : Gate Gourmet

20th Aug 2005, 05:20
Reading about the fiasco with Gate Gourmet dismissing its workers by megaphone and e-mail touched on an old pet hate.

Is this any way to treat people? .

If someone works for you in any capacity shouldn't you accord him or her the respect you would want shown to yourself?

I have always treated anyone who works for me, or under my management with respect as they are just doing a job as an independent contractor and are not my servants. Obviously if a person underperforms in a job, you as his employer or manager are obliged to reprimand and if neccesary dismiss him from your service.

This is your duty.

What Gate Gourmet did with their workers infuriates me as it shows a complete lack of respect to someone who is willing to spend his or her time earning them their money. Surely if someone has underperformed to the extent that you feel you have no option but to dismiss them it should be done in the correct manner. Anything else just reflects badly on yourself.

The other thing to remember is that there is no such thing as a problem child, you do however get problem parents...

20th Aug 2005, 20:26
.....or just another nostalgic of slavery?

20th Aug 2005, 21:06
Could it just possibly be that the GG staff had inherited some pretty cushy work pactices from the old BA regime and objected to the tightening up and cost cutting GG was doing to try to improve the bottom line.

The fact that the GG staff ignored the established mechanisms for arbitration and staged an illegal strike appears to be totaly ignored.

The fact that through their family connections with staff in BA they managed to bring BA to a halt with another illegal strike is also being ignored. Thousands of fellow workers and passengers were effected by a handfull of people who refused to do go through legal and recognised procedures by the union that claims to represent them probably should not be working in that company.

Just occasionaly companies and organisation do put their foot down. Controllers found that out in the US, as did a load of pilots in Australia. Perhaps a large group round Heathrow may just find that out too.

20th Aug 2005, 21:38
Could it just possibly be that the GG staff had inherited some pretty cushy work pactices£6.20 per hour - in London - very cushy :rolleyes: . And Gate Gourmet is trying to push through wage cuts.

20th Aug 2005, 22:01
GG is an American company - maybe it just inherited some of the USA working practices - which have to be the worst I've ever witnessed.

20th Aug 2005, 22:48
"which have to be the worst I've ever witnessed."

That's pretty heavy there Key. Would you please expand just a little on that statement?:confused:

20th Aug 2005, 23:06
£6.20 per hour Jesus! I wouldn't stick my leg out of bed for that.

Thing that freaks me out about that is a coach driver earns about the same. Not a comment on the work catering people do, just a go at how low wages are in the uk at the moment. How can companies get away with paying this kind of wage.


21st Aug 2005, 00:56
I stand by my previous post.

I cannot comment on what the exact situation was as I was not there.

I still believe that if you choose to dismiss someone from your service it should be done in the correct manner. Don't get me wrong - I am not saying that there should be umpteen letters of warning and disciplinary hearings before the inevitable truth is finally faced up to, namely that the person is not doing the job he was hired to perform and therefore has to be terminated ( his employment that is:E ) The most basic professional attitude would entail speaking to that person face to face in a private meeting and basically treating him or her as a human being.

I have lived in foreign countries where I have employed local labour and have never had a problem dismissing anyone because I have always treated them with a basic respect. (Considering my nationality and where I have worked this is nothing short of a miracle!)

My beef is not with the fact that Gate Gourmet chose to put their foot down, I find the disrespectful manner in which they treated their staff to be distasteful to say the least.

Funny thing is if they had done it in an adult manner it would probably have cost them less than what it now will. (I have read elsewhere in this forum that apparantly BA feels disinclined to renew their contract, do we know if there is any basis to this?)

21st Aug 2005, 08:23
Hey yes!

What can we expect from investors who consider their employees as "human resource", a little bit higher than "animal resource" and not so far from coal, steel, or oil?

21st Aug 2005, 08:48
two sides to every story - Gate Gourmet (http://www.gategourmet.com/797/828/867/1060/2859/2972/2962.asp).

They're losing £25M a year, have lost one major contract (Virgin) and have been told by BA that their contract will not be renewed next year. What would the effect be on pay and pensions if they stop plowing in funds from outside and just let the company go bankrupt?

Lance Murdoch
21st Aug 2005, 10:08
Hobgoblin, I entirely agree with what you are saying. The attitude of some employers to their staff is absolutely appalling. Was there not a case in England not so long ago where a number of workers were dismissed by text message? If companies are not prepared to treat their staff with a basic amount of courtesy then they deserve whatever is coming to them. People are not a commodity and they arent stupid either,they also tend to work better when they are treated fairly which makes good business sense!

gas path
21st Aug 2005, 11:50
Sacking workers for a strike is one thing but deliberately engineering a strike to buy some breathing space and THEN blaming it all on BA is another. If I was Rod E I'd be going after GG through the courts AND the directors as individuals, and if it throws the company into receivership and makes the directors destitute......GOOD!
GG signed a contract for 10? years, they went into it with their eyes open and now they're grizzling because they are losing money, I can't remember them complaining when they were making money and offering to pay some back.
If one lesson can be learnt from this it's not to put all your catering in one basket!

22nd Aug 2005, 11:26
It seems to me like the only real losers in this is going to be Gate Gourmet's employees.

The management of that company must be the most spineless lot on the planet. Latest news on Sky this morning is that unless BA signs a new contract by tomorrow the GG will have to go into administration.

Wonder which brain surgeon came up with that plan? Seems to me like they are trying to make it look like BA's fault.

You can rest assured that the management of GG are not going to end up destitute over this. More's the pity.

All I can say to that lot is "SHAME ON YOU"

22nd Aug 2005, 11:43
In a former life, I was management at Skychefs LGW. From my experience, I can rlate to this dispute, catering kitchens are not nice places to work. The march of locos has hit hard, margins are minimal, working conditions are poor, wages are worse, entrenched union practices & attitudes run deep, management are aggressive & confrontational, equipment is old & tired, staff (certainly at my unit) often don't speak English - take that as you will, but my feeling is that caterers took lots of brown people they could get away with paying minimum wages to, proper exlpoitation in the finest tradition of capitalism.

This dispute is ugly, really ugly, but I suspect it may be the touchstone that reforms airline catering, which is long overdue on both sides of the divide. Personally, I saw the light & resigned from an untenable position where it wasn't possible to deliver the performance required with the constraints placed on us. A fair few of my colleagues followed me out. A shame since I loved the airport, I loved (most) of my people & have never had a more interesting job. Sadly, I see this one getting worse before it gets better.

Biggles Flies Undone
22nd Aug 2005, 11:50
I suspect it may be the touchstone that reforms airline catering
I really hope that it is.

Airline food in cattle class is reliably awful - and that is a reflection of the margins squeezed by the airlines and the quality of catering it produces.

Given the option of carrying on as things are or being offered no inclusive catering but the option of buying a decent 'fair trade' meal on board using good ingredients and prepared by someone earning a living wage, then I know which way I would vote. And I believe a lot of other frequent flyers would as well.

gas path
22nd Aug 2005, 11:57
It seems to me like the only real losers in this is going to be Gate Gourmet's employees
Couldn't agree more, reading between the lines I still think that they were goaded into a dispute, more's the pity they took the bait.
It appears GG were going to the wall anyway and they've tried to shift the blame from themselves to BA.
According to the 'quality' papers GG want BA to pay for the staff redundancies, what frigging planet are they on:mad: :mad:
The BA staff who stupidly, although not suprisingly got involved had links (family etc) with the staff at GG!

22nd Aug 2005, 12:00
Hourly rates don't tell the full story. When you factor in the concessions the unions managed to keep on overtime and other demarcation practices things may look different.

Sunday Times article yesterday gives an insight. Quotes overtime as 20% of the wage bill, drivers earn typically £25-£30K per year, and kitchen staff earning around £19k. Not great money, but considerably more than the hourly rate suggests.


The relevant part is the last section.

22nd Aug 2005, 12:47
I was just reading through GG's webpage and came across the following:


Outdated and Inefficient Work Practices

Outdated and inefficient work practices are a key factor in Gate Gourmet’s current financial problems. These 1970s work practices include:

Staff are often paid a full day’s pay for half a day’s work

During peak production staff refuse to help colleagues on other work lines even when they are doing nothing themselves. Management are then forced to employ extra staff at over-time rates to complete orders

Outdated overtime rules allow staff to work their normal 8-hour shift but be paid for 12.5, paid for hours they do not do
Above market pay rates for below market productivity

Such working practices have no standing in today’s highly competitive industry. The recent loss of the major Virgin Atlantic contract was due to workforce inflexibility and therefore an inability to deliver a cost-competitive product.

Hmmm. I'd like a day's pay for a half day too.

22nd Aug 2005, 15:23
£6.20 an hour is a fraction under £13k a year. I don't consider that low wages for people without any qualifications working on a production line. That's before overtime as someone's already pointed out and the average wage is a lot more.


22nd Aug 2005, 15:51
Isn't it only a question of time before BA does a marketing deal with someone like McDonald's? They both operate practically worldwide!

"Welcome aboard the BAxxx McDonald's flight to Nice ladies and gentlemen. The weather on the Cote d'Azur is just great and we should be arriving on schedule. We hope you enjoy today's in-flight menu of Maxi Happy Meals of Chicken McNuggets / Big Macs and DeLuxe Potatoes."

"Ladies and gentlemen, we'll be landing at Nice shortly. Please return to your seats and fasten your safety-belts. We hope you've had an enjoyable flight. Next week is Kentucky Fried Chicken Week! We look forward to having you aboard again."

I realise that some people especially up front won't be verry happy about this. So 1st class passengers can always bring in an outside caterer...?! := Those wanting a Pizza Hut can just request it when booking, along with the special diet, kosher food requests etc. ;)

23rd Aug 2005, 11:36
Great idea Airship!

Just wondering how much it will help BA's bottom line when the lawsuits start coming in due to the frequent fliers keeling over from coronary diseases;)

Biggles Flies Undone
23rd Aug 2005, 11:40
frequent fliers keeling over from coronary diseases
Blame it on DVT :E

23rd Aug 2005, 16:46
Well it's 16.45 - 15 minutes to go and I guess the balloon (http://www.asa.org.uk/asa/adjudications/non_broadcast/Adjudication+Details.htm?adjudication_id=28933) is just about to go up on GG as well.


24th Aug 2005, 17:42
Gate Gourmet will resume "informal talks" with the Transport & General Workers’ union today in an attempt to resolve the dispute over redundancies.

In the meantime, the chairman of Gate Gourmet is believed to have travelled to the company’s offices in America to debrief senior colleagues.

For his flight back, catering has been carefully organised by his many delighted and loyal employees at GG who feel that a special culinary surprise is appropriate.