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Last Updated: Friday, 19 August 2005, 09:42 GMT 10:42 UK
Hot food back on the menu for BA
Air crew serving food to BA passenger
Not all BA passengers will be getting hot meals on their journey
Most of British Airways' Heathrow passengers will get in-flight hot meals from Monday, the airline has said.

Hot meals are to resume on long-haul flights from the airport, but a reduced food service will remain on short-haul.

The dispute between the airline's catering firm and its workers over job losses which caused chaos for BA at Heathrow last week is still ongoing.

Gate Gourmet and the T&G union have yet to resume talks, which broke down on Tuesday.

"While this is a far cry from our usual service , it is a welcome move for our long-haul customers," BA customer services director Mike Street said.

Improving service

Passengers on long-haul flights to the London airport will have to wait until Wednesday for hot meals.

This union would support legal industrial action to protect victimised members
Tony Woodley, T&G General Secretary

Meanwhile, water is still the only refreshment available onboard for short-haul customers.

Instead, these passengers are being offered vouchers to pick up food at airport terminals.

"We continue to talk to Gate Gourmet regarding its capability to improve further on the service it is currently able to provide," Mr Street added.

Gate Gourmet employees staged a wildcat strike last week in protest at 670 job cuts - action that in turn sparked an unofficial sympathy walkout by BA ground staff at Heathrow.

The airline is Gate Gourmet's biggest customer at the airport and many of the caterer's staff were previously employed when BA ran its own catering operation.

The strike forced BA to shutdown operations at the airport - resulting in the loss of 30m as it cancelled 700 flights.

Strikes probed

On Thursday, BA launched an investigation into the cause of the wildcat walkout, amid claims that workers had been bullied into taking part in the action.

However, the news prompted the threat of legal industrial action from the T&G union should BA "victimise" employees who walked out in sympathy with their Gate Gourmet colleagues.

In a letter to the airline, T&G chief Tony Woodley said: "This union would support legal industrial action to protect victimised members."

BA has set up a confidential hotline for employees to raise any concerns, and warned it would not be paying staff who walked out last week as the action was "unlawful".

Meanwhile, Gate Gourmet has also said it is looking into T&G claims of improper corporate activity and "major health and safety concerns".

While the caterer said it did not believe there had been any wrongdoing an wanted to "make sure that was the case".


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