London British Gas workers burn “fire and rehire” notices as national strike enters the seventh day

London gas workers show graphically their defiance of the imposition of hourly pay 15% below the agreed rate and other changes says GMB London

Day seven the British Gas national strike is ‘rock solid’ in London and East of England as an estimated 7,000 workers across the country withdrew labour over the company’s plan to sack them all.

In London, gas engineers burned the new contracts – which they have been told they must sign, or be fired in March.

In a show of defiance, London gas engineers burned the new contracts on Friday (22 January) outside Havering Town Hall, Main Road, RM1 3BB. This was one of eight events across the country where gas engineers staged the ceremonial burning. Pictures are available from GMB London press office.

Engineers and other workers will also strike on January 22, 25, 29, 30, 31 and February 1 in anger as profitable British Gas provokes further disruption for its customers.

British Gas engineers and staff voted overwhelmingly by 89% to strike after boss of parent company Centrica Chris O’Shea threatened to fire them all if they didn’t “accept” cuts to pay and terms and conditions.

Five days of strike action took place earlier this month up to January 11th. These strikes provoked by the company have caused massive disruption already – with an estimated 100,000 homes waiting for service across the country.

British Gas parent company Centrica reported an operating profit (before exceptional items and tax) of £901 million in 2019.

The operating profitability of its UK home heating business rose by 27 per cent in the first six months of 2020.

Gary Pearce, GMB London Region Organiser for Energy said:
“GMB members at British Gas are burning the new contracts to show graphically their defiance of the imposition of hourly pay 15% below the agreed rate – as well as other changes.

“This is yet another attempt to get through to Mr O’Shea that staff accepting cuts of this magnitude in a profitable company is not going to happen.

“British Gas has provoked disruption to more than 100,000 households already in the backlog for services. That number will grow due to the seven new strike dates.

“British Gas Board members should have asked Mr O’Shea how his plans would impact on British Gas customers when the engineers inevitably rejected hourly rates 15% below agreed pay rates and other imposed changes.

“It was wishful thinking in the extreme to think that union members would ever acquiesce with cuts of this magnitude in a profitable company.”

The Board should reverse the view that the company doesn’t care about customers by reining in hopelessly out of touch and naive Mr O’Shea.”

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