British Gas Staff Strike Inevitable, Union Warns Centrica Amid Pay Row

(Alliance News) - A strike by British Gas workers is "unavoidable" after failure to resolve a ...

Alliance News 11 December, 2020 | 9:50AM
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(Alliance News) - A strike by British Gas workers is "unavoidable" after failure to resolve a dispute over pay and conditions, a union has warned.

The GMB said it will now hold meetings to work out what emergency cover can be provided during industrial action.

The union accused the company of "ploughing on" with plans it claims will lead to pay cuts.

British Gas parent firm Centrica PLC said it has made "significant progress" with its unions, adding it expects around two-thirds of employees to have accepted new terms and conditions by the end of the year.

The GMB said Centrica has issued a new deadline of December 23 for workers to accept an offer that has been overwhelmingly rejected in a ballot.

GMB members at British Gas are currently voting on industrial action, with the result due next week.

Justin Bowden, GMB national officer said: "The company response to the 86% rejection of pay cuts by members in a very high turnout ballot is to set a deadline of December 23 for them to accept the same offer or be fired.

"This means that strike action in the depths of winter is now unavoidable.

"GMB will be meeting with senior representatives in the company to work out what emergency cover can be provided during the strike."

A Centrica spokesman said: "We've made significant progress with our unions which means we can now expect approximately two-thirds of our colleagues to have accepted the new terms and conditions by the end of this year.

"It is a real shame that GMB leadership, despite spending months shaping the proposals with us, have misled its engineering members on basic facts.

"When negotiations closed, all parties understood this was the best and final offer and we must make these changes. GMB did a U-turn at the last minute to recommend members reject the same proposals that they helped to shape.

"Trying to reason with them has been like trying to nail jelly to the wall, they don't seem to comprehend that change is needed for our future sustainability and protecting jobs at Centrica.

"They seem intent on taking action which will harm our customers and our colleagues. Taking strike action in the depth of winter during a global pandemic shows how out of touch the GMB leadership is with what our country needs.

"We'll now talk to GMB members directly as it's the right thing to do."

By Alan Jones, PA Industrial Correspondent

source: PA

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