British Gas Engineers To End Strike With No Breakthrough In Dispute

(Alliance News) - British Gas engineers will complete a five-day strike on Monday, with no sign ...

Alliance News 11 January, 2021 | 5:44AM
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(Alliance News) - British Gas engineers will complete a five-day strike on Monday, with no sign of a breakthrough in the dispute over pay and conditions.

Members of the GMB union walked out last Thursday and have been mounting socially distanced picket lines across the UK after being "provoked" into taking industrial action.

British Gas owner Centrica PLC said it had contingency plans to deal with the action, and was prioritising vulnerable households and emergencies.

The strike involves around 4,500 service and repair gas engineers, 600 central heating installers, 540 electrical engineers, 170 specialist business gas engineers and 1,700 smart metering engineers, said the union.

GMB national officer Justin Bowden said: "The only way for profitable British Gas to end this massive disruption they are provoking for their customers in the bleak midwinter is to take their outrageous 'fire and rehire' threat off the table.

"Instead of lashing out at its own workforce, who overwhelmingly rejected this plan and voted to take strike action, the company should look closer to home – stop threatening to fire the entire engineer workforce and enter constructive discussions with GMB."

The strike follows a 9-1 vote in favour of industrial action by members of the GMB, which accused Centrica of planning to cut pay, terms and conditions under moves to "fire and rehire" employees.

A Centrica spokesman said: "We've done everything we can with the GMB to avoid industrial action.

"Whilst we've made great progress with our other unions, sadly the GMB leadership seems intent on causing disruption to customers during the coldest weekend of the year, amid a global health crisis and in the middle of a national lockdown.

"We have strong contingency plans in place to ensure we will still be there for customers who really need us, and we'll prioritise vulnerable households and emergencies."

Centrica said it has lost too many customers and jobs in recent years, adding that it is trying to protect jobs.

"If we are to avoid more job losses and continue, unlike most in the sector, to maintain a highly skilled team of engineers, employed directly by the company, these new terms and conditions are essential."

"A very significant number of engineers striking will have accepted the new terms already," it said, adding that four out of five of its workforce have accepted new terms, in which base pay and pensions are protected.

source: PA

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Security Name Price Change (%) Morningstar
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Centrica PLC 51.64 GBX 2.46

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