Articles in local papers – Wed 28th May

Daily Mirror – Wed 28th May

I’M CLOSE TO DEATH

Hunger Striker says farewell to kids as he starts 14th day without food

 

Hunger striker Gordon McNeill has said a final goodbye to his two young children – and fears he will never see them again.

 

Gordon, today on his 14th day without food, is in constant pain because to (of?) hunger and knows he cannot hold out much.

When the 38-years-old walks he shuffles along like a man twice his age and doctors have told him he is unlikely to hold out for another week without food.

And he has just paid a final visit to see his son Calum, 10 and six-year-old daughter Lucy to tell them he loves them and he may never see them again.

He said yesterday: “I have had to say goodbye to the children I adore and that was the hardest thing I have ever done. My daughter is too young to understand but my son knows he may never see me again.”

Gordon, from Ballymena, Co Antrim, now suffers regular dizzy spells and has gone past the point of hunger. He added: “I don’t even miss food any more. I am prepared to die if I don’t get justice.”

Gordon is a former union shop steward who was sacked as a security worker at Belfast International Airport after a bitter industrial dispute in 2002.

He is supported by Madan Gupta, 72, and Chris Bowyer, 49, who were also sacked.

The three have been camping on a tent on a first storey roof above the entrance to Transport House in Belfast City Centre to highlight their campaign.

Behind-the-scenes negotiations between his legal teams and lawyers for union Unite have been taking place but Gordon says he has been let down so many times before that his fast will continue.

Irish News

Staff barred from Building

Three sacked Belfast International airport workers have been served with a court injunction, barring them from continuing to protest at Belfast’s Transport house. Gordon McNeill, who has been on hunger strike since May 15, was served with the injunction yesterday afternoon. Mr McNeill and fellow shop stewards Chris Bowyer and Madan Gupta have been told if they continue to protest they could face fines, seizure of assets and imprisonment. The men were sacked by security firm ICTS. They are protesting because they say their union, Unite, should pay for the full legal costs of their appeal case.

Belfast Telegraph

Sacked airport steward resumes public protest

Sacked airport shop steward Gordon McNeill resumed his public protest on the balcony of Transport House last night.

The former airport worker is still demanding union Unite pay him and fellow sacked stewards Chris Bowyer and Madan Gupta compensation resulting from their industrial tribunal case.

Last Friday, Mr McNeill and Mr Bowyer ended their hunger strike after it emerged the outstanding legal bills and payment of the legal costs of an appeal by ICTS against the Tribunal decision was resolved. However, the issue of compensation is still in dispute.

Mr McNeill said discussions have taken place but have not reached a settlement.

“When I began this protest I made clear I would not end it until everything has been settled. I am determined not to let the union drag this out any longer. One way or another I am resolved that this will be the last time I will protest against my own union leadership about this,” he said.

“Under the pressure of the hunger strike and mass support campaign the union have moved on legal fees. Now all they have to do is make an offer of compensation to myself and my colleagues that reflects the years of hardship they have caused us.

“Such an offer should be made without strings. Every trade union member and the public as a whole deserves to be told the full truth about what has happened to us. My right to speak the truth is not for sale.”

 

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