British Gas engineers to launch new wave of strikes over fire and rehire plans

A corporate logo outside a British Gas office
Support us and go ad-free

British Gas engineers will launch a fresh wave of strikes on 26 February in a deadlocked dispute over pay and conditions.

Strike

Members of the GMB union will walk out for four days following weeks of action since the start of the year. Parent company Centrica announced on 25 February that its underlying earnings had fallen by almost a third as it lost more customers. The group reported a 31% drop in underlying operating profits to £447m for 2020.

Talks have been held between the two sides at the conciliation service Acas, but the union has accused the company of refusing to withdraw fire and rehire plans.

A spokesperson for Centrica said:

We have plans in place to manage industrial action but we’re sorry for any disruption this is causing to our customers. We’ll continue to prioritise vulnerable customers and emergency situations.

Centrica chief executive Chris O’Shea said about the Acas discussions:

These talks have given us the basis, hopefully, for an agreement which is being presented to our staff at the moment. I’m really hopeful we can move forward with the GMB in line with other unions, where we already have agreements.

Union position

Justin Bowden, GMB national officer, said:

Last summer, when British Gas decided on fire and rehire pay cuts for gas engineers, it was already a profitable company – as today’s results confirm. So there is no need to hurt workers, customers and shareholders. Refusing to take fire and rehire off the table is the main obstacle to a settlement at Acas.

After 22 days of strikes, more than 230,000 homes are in a backlog for repairs and 300,000 planned annual service visits have been axed.

We know everyone is suffering under the Tories - but the Canary is a vital weapon in our fight back, and we need your support

The Canary Workers’ Co-op knows life is hard. The Tories are waging a class war against us we’re all having to fight. But like trade unions and community organising, truly independent working-class media is a vital weapon in our armoury.

The Canary doesn’t have the budget of the corporate media. In fact, our income is over 1,000 times less than the Guardian’s. What we do have is a radical agenda that disrupts power and amplifies marginalised communities. But we can only do this with our readers’ support.

So please, help us continue to spread messages of resistance and hope. Even the smallest donation would mean the world to us.

Support us
  • Show Comments
    1. I get my Gas and electric from Scottish Gas, which is a subsidiary of British Gas, and I would like to know how best to contact them at this time to threaten to change suppliers.
      I recently tried to contact them (concerning a smart meter) but a recorded message said they were responding to emergencies only ( allegedly due to covid, but someone could have been receiving calls at home, they may be using the covid as an excuse to cut expenses).

    Leave a Reply

    Join the conversation

    Please read our comment moderation policy here.