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GMB to ballot 10,000 British Gas and PH Jones members on industrial action

03 Aug 2020
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Members have said they want an insurance policy too now Centrica has threatened them with fire and rehire says GMB

GMB, the energy union, is balloting 10,000 British Gas and PH Jones members on whether they would consider taking industrial action after the company threatened to hire and fire.

The consultative postal ballot opens today [August 3, 2020] and closes on August 17, 2020.

On June 11, British Gas owners Centrica announced a plan to make another 5,000 staff redundant and make changes to pay and terms and conditions that will have a detrimental effect for most of the 20,000 workers.

Then last month, the company revealed its intention to fire and rehire the entire 20,000 workforce, if they didn’t ‘agree’ to the changes, with a British Airways style threat.

Centrica described their fire and rehire plans to GMB as an ‘insurance policy’ and issued statutory HR1 and s188 notices which say this process could begin as early as the end of November.

Justin Bowden, GMB National Secretary, said:

“GMB members have lost trust in Centrica and said they want an insurance policy too.

“Centrica has threatened them with British Airways style ‘fire and rehire’ behaviour and put a gun to their heads at the start of negotiations.

“We are asking the views of all 10,000 of our members in British Gas and PH Jones to see if they want a formal strike ballot.

“Centrica’s problems were not caused by the loyal engineers, call centre workers and back office staff who have done everything asked of them over years and years of corporate-led decline, but yet again they are being asked to pay a price.

“Centrica’s approach is to do ‘to’ and ‘at’ the workforce, not ‘with’ the workforce - fire and rehire is the epitome of a board bereft of ideas other than cut, cut, cut. They’ve broken the trust of employees.

“Without a clear strategy for growth, that recognises the workforce are the greatest assets that British Gas and PH Jones have, there is nothing to differentiate Centrica’s latest ‘plan’ from all the other failed efforts to date.

“GMB members will now decide what happens next.”

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