More than 7,000 British Gas engineers will go on strike for five days from January 7 in row over pay and conditions, GMB union says
- The strike will be followed by further stoppages to be announced later
- The announcement follows a 9-1 vote in favour of industrial action
- The union said British Gas has set a deadline of December 23 for thousands of engineers and other staff to accept its conditions and pay cuts or be sacked
More than 7,000 British Gas Engineers will go on strike for five days from January 7 in a dispute over pay and conditions, the GMB has announced.
The GMB union said its members will walk out from January 7, followed by further stoppages to be announced later.
The strike will involve around 4,500 service and repair gas engineers, 600 central heating installers, 540 electrical engineers, 170 specialist business gas engineers and 1,700 smart metering engineers, said the union.
More than 7,000 British Gas Engineers will go on strike for five days from January 7
The only exceptions to the industrial action will be dealing with emergencies and problems for households with vulnerable people, according to the union.
The announcement follows a 9-1 vote, in favour of industrial action by members of the GMB, which has accused British Gas and parent firm Centrica of planning to cut pay, terms and conditions.
The union said British Gas has set a deadline of December 23 for thousands of engineers and other staff to accept its conditions and pay cuts or be sacked.
GMB national officer Justin Bowden said: ‘No employer should be treating its employees the way British Gas boss Chris O’Shea is. His actions have tarnished the reputation of a great British company.
The announcement follows a 9-1 vote, in favour of industrial action by members of the GMB
‘The use of fire and rehire threats has been condemned across the political spectrum and caused huge anger among this dedicated workforce.
‘There’s still time for British Gas to see sense, remove the fire and rehire threats, and negotiate a fair settlement to avoid a walkout.
‘Chris O’Shea is entirely to blame for this disruption in the depths of Winter. He has provoked a loyal workforce into strike action with his threats to either accept very substantial cuts in pay and conditions or be sacked.
‘His swingeing cuts have already been overwhelmingly rejected by engineers. Any decent boss would think again.’
A Centrica spokesman said: ‘The GMB leadership is stuck in the past, fighting against modernisation and failing to understand that customer demands are changing; customers want better appointments and we need more flexibility to deliver for them.
‘If we can’t change the way we work then we can’t do this, and our customers will turn to our competitors.
‘Our new terms are fair and the majority of our workforce – including thousands of GMB members – accept that we need to change.
‘We now expect to see well over 75% of our colleagues to have accepted by the end of the year.
‘The GMB leaderships’ mandate for strike action is very weak and their action will harm our country, our customers, and their colleagues.’