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Almost 5,000 members of public tell British Gas shareholders: 'fire & rehire damaging your investment'

11 Feb 2021
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British Gas bosses don’t see they are damaging the company, customers and the workforce – maybe shareholders will, says GMB Union 

Almost 5,000 GMB members and supporters have written to British Gas shareholders to warn them the company’s fire and rehire plan will damage their investment. 

At least 4,850 people have signed the letter urging some of the world’s most high-profile investors, including Schroders, Standard Life Aberdeen and Blackrock to protect their investment and help secure a negotiated end to the industrial dispute.  

The shareholders collectively own around 85 per cent of British Gas’s parent company, Centrica PLC. 

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The letter argues that senior management’s intractable approach, which has provoked the industrial dispute, risks permanent damage to the company’s reputation and customer base.    

The union is calling on British Gas bosses to take fire and rehire off the table, so that talks can take place in the right environment. 

On Friday February 12th around 7,000 British Gas engineers will walk out for their 17th day of strike action in anger over the company’s plan to fire them all and rehire them on worse terms and conditions.  

They strike will last for four day until February 16. A further eight days of strikes are planned in two lots of four days starting at 00.01 hours on February 19 and 26 February. 

British Gas bosses don’t seem to be able to see what everyone else can – that the plan to fire their entire workforce is damaging to the company, customers and the workforce. 

Justin Bowden, GMB National Secretary

GMB’s Central Executive Council (CEC) has said the industrial action could last until the middle of April. 

More than 210, 000 homes are in a backlog for repairs and 250, 000 planned annual service visits were axed. The company is misleading the media that it is catching up after 24 hours. 

According to recent Survation poll, 74 per cent of British Gas customers say that they support the strike.

Justin Bowden, GMB National Secretary, said: 

“British Gas bosses don’t seem to be able to see what everyone else can – that the plan to fire their entire workforce is damaging to the company, customers and the workforce. 

“So now thousands of people have written to shareholders to see if they can use their influence and get CEO Chris O’Shea to do what is best for the company. 

“British Gas workers understand that change is needed and want to get back to what they do best – serving the company’s agreements and delivering world-class customer service.  

“GMB stands ready to continue talks, but we are clear that fire and rehire must be taken off the table first.” 

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