British Gas engineers strike for eighth day over ‘fire and rehire’ row

British Gas workers have been striking through the GMB Union.British Gas workers have been striking through the GMB Union.
British Gas workers have been striking through the GMB Union.
British Gas engineers are staging their eighth strike in a dispute over pay and conditions.

Members of the GMB union are embroiled in a deadlocked row, with more industrial action planned later this week and into February,

The union claimed on Monday that the backlog of customers waiting for service is nearing 150,000 as a result of the industrial action, a figure the company disputes.

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Union members staged a ceremonial burning of new contracts last week and there will be further strikes on January 29, 30 and 31, and February 1.

GMB national officer Justin Bowden said: "The backlog of households awaiting services for British Gas is growing at treble the 6,000 per day the company admits.

"At the end of strike day eight, the backlog will have grown to more than 150,000 household waiting for services.

"The fire and rehire changes being imposed on engineers mean hourly pay rates would be 15 per cent below agreed pay rates along with other worse term and conditions."

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A spokeswoman for British Gas owner Centrica said: "We're operating in an incredibly competitive market and British Gas has lost too many jobs and too many customers over recent years. Our business needs to change to survive and protect 20,000 jobs.

"We know change is difficult but we have offered a fair deal that has been negotiated over 300 hours with unions - we're not cutting base pay and pensions are protected.

"Eighty-three percent of our employees have already agreed to the new terms and we believe the vast majority of our workforce understand that the company needs to change."

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