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GMB members at British Gas in overwhelming vote for strike action

17 Dec 2020
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Shop stewards and officials to meet to consider ballot result, nature and dates of industrial action and emergency cover to get ‘fire and rehire’ off the table

British Gas were told today (17th December) that GMB members had, as predicted, responded to the fire and rehire demands of CEO Mr O'Shea with an 89% “yes” vote for strike action.

This follows another landslide vote last week by 86% of gas and electrical engineers, to reject cuts to pay and conditions which for gas repair and service staff are up to 10%. 

In an immediate response, British Gas set December 23rd as the new deadline for staff to accept the cuts or lose pay and protections ahead of being sacked.

GMB said that this made strike action unavoidable.

A cross-party group of 140 MP’s this week wrote to Centrica boss Chris O’Shea to call on him to withdraw his threats - while the Prime Minister agreed fire and rehire is an exploitative negotiation tactic.

Justin Bowden, GMB National Secretary said:

"The ultimatum from British Gas to its workforce to accept these cuts before Christmas or get the sack, has now made strike action unavoidable.

“Our members had already voted in huge numbers to reject the company's draconian cuts to terms and conditions.

“GMB shop stewards and officials will meet to consider and assess the ballot result and the nature of the industrial action and the dates for action - initially across January.

“They will also consider what emergency cover is required, including for the elderly and vulnerable households. 

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

“His idea of compromise - to reduce a 20% cut in pay down to 10% and then lambast and attack the shop stewards for not selling his proposals, has been overwhelmingly rejected by the gas, electrical and smart engineers. 

“British Gas must now remove from the table entirely the fire and rehire demand and all the deadlines.”

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