British Gas workers start five day strike over ‘fire and rehire’ cuts

GMB Union members at British Gas have started a national five day strike from 7 January 2021. 

The action comes after parent company Centrica said it would impose ‘fire and rehire’ cuts to workers’ pay and terms and conditions on pain of dismissal.

GMB conducted a strike ballot of 9,000 members in December 2020. An overwhelming 89% voted in favour of industrial action.

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This is against the backdrop of the company reporting operating profits of £901m in the latest available annual accounts. (Centrica PLC recorded a group-wide operating profit of £901m in 2019, the company’s accounts reveal). 

And Centrica declared an adjusted operating profit of £229 million for its domestic heating business in the UK for the six months to 30 June 2020 – up 27% on the same period in the previous year.

Centrica Chief Executive Chris O’Shea is also due to take home an annual package worth almost £800,000 this year – twenty times the basic earnings of an experienced British Gas engineer.

Justin Bowden, GMB National Secretary said: 

“British Gas boss Chris O’Shea’s attempts to bully workers into accepting cuts to their pay and terms and conditions has provoked this inevitable outcome – massive disruption to customers in the depths of winter and a stain on the reputation of an historic company and brand. 

“GMB is calling on the public to ask why British Gas CEO Mr O’Shea is provoking an engineers’ strike with ‘fire and rehire’ pay cuts, in the depths of winter.

“This is against the backdrop of the company reporting operating profits of £901m in the latest available annual accounts.” 

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