British Gas engineers ignite fresh wave of protests after rejecting revised contract
British Gas engineers have relaunched strike action today after rejecting a revised offer that aimed to resolve the continuing fire-and-rehire dispute.
The GMB union said its members had voted by almost four to one against the offer which failed to take fire-and-rehire tactics off the table.
After two rounds of talks, workers have now walked out for four days, taking the total days of striking from 27 to 30, at the end of this wave.
National officer Justin Bowden said: “British Gas didn’t take ‘fire and rehire’ off the table, the main obstacle to a possible settlement.
“This huge vote to reject the offer by gas and electrical engineers shows that there will be no resolution until the company do so.”
British Gas parent company Centrica has said it will now progress with individual consultations with the engineers who are yet to agree to the new terms.
At the end of February, Centrica reported a £362m statutory loss due to a combination of coronavirus, lower commodities prices and warmer weather. The firm also took a £783m hit last year.
Chief executive of Centrica, Chris O’Shea, said: “We have a responsibility to reverse our decline and protect and grow jobs. This includes the recruitment of an additional 1,000 engineering apprentices that we can now take on as a result of making changes to our contracts.”
“There is a job for everyone at the end of this difficult process, but we must change. Over 80 per cent of our workforce have agreed to the new terms and understand that our company needs to adapt to protect 20,000 UK jobs,” O’Shea added.
“My hope is that, through individual consultations, all remaining colleagues will choose to stay with us and help us deliver both the transformation of Centrica, and the net zero transition that our country needs.”