Five day January walkout at British Gas over fire and rehire plans

21 Dec 2020
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Union announces action in January following overwhelming vote for strike action

GMB members employed as service and repair gas engineers, will stage a total withdrawal of labour for five days in January in a dispute over the fire and rehire plans of British Gas managers.

The only exceptions will be dealing with emergencies and problems for households with vulnerable people.

The initial stoppage will be for a five-day strike which will run from 00:01 on Thursday 7 January through until 23:59 on Monday 11 January.

This will be followed by further stoppages to be announced later.

Alongside the 4,500 service and repair gas engineers being called on to strike will be 600 central heating installers, 540 electrical engineers and 170 specialist business gas engineers and 1,700 smart metering engineers.

The move comes after last week’s overwhelming 89% “yes” vote in favour of industrial action by GMB members at British Gas.

The industrial action ballot followed by a decisive rejection of British Gas’ parent company’s plan to cut pay, terms and conditions.

In response, British Gas issued an ultimatum for workers to agree cuts to pay, terms and conditions by Wednesday 23 December on pain of dismissal.

The use of ‘fire and rehire’ tactics has been roundly condemned across the political spectrum and devolved nations.

Justin Bowden, GMB National Secretary said:

“No employer should be treating its employees the way British Gas boss Chris O’Shea is. His actions have tarnished the reputation of a great British company.

“The use of fire and rehire threats has been condemned across the political spectrum and caused huge anger among this dedicated workforce.

“There’s still time for British Gas to see sense, remove the fire and rehire threats, and negotiate a fair settlement to avoid a walkout.

“Chris O’Shea is entirely to blame for this disruption in the depths of Winter. He has provoked a loyal workforce into strike action with his threats to either accept very substantial cuts in pay and conditions or be sacked.

 “His swingeing cuts have already been overwhelmingly rejected by engineers. Any decent boss would think again.”

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