British Gas will go ahead with a mass sacking of striking gas engineers who refused to submit to corporate bullying to accept a 15% cut in pay rates and other imposed changes in terms and conditions.
This mass sackings will take place as gas engineers from London and East of England take part on the 43rd day of national strike on Wednesday in this long-running and deadlocked dispute.
British Gas announced in July last year that staff in the Field staff bargaining group who refused to accept imposed 15% cuts in pay rates and other changes would be sacked. The company bullied the rest of the staff in the Field staff bargaining group to sign terms they had overwhelmingly rejected and still don’t accept.
These GMB members at British Gas have already taken 42 days of strike action against the imposition of the 15% cuts in pay rates and other changes via “fire and rehire” notices.
The strike action on 14 April will be the 43rd strike day. In addition, a national official lockout dispute between British Gas and GMB will become effective from 14 April and will include further strike action and action short of a strike.
The strikes has led to a backlog of millions of customers waiting for planned service visits and hundreds of thousands having to wait for emergency repairs. British Gas has suspended sale of the standard boiler service insurance.
Gary Pearce, GMB London energy officer, said “That British Gas doesn’t give a toss for either customers or staff is shown by the mass sackings of engineers it so badly needs for customer services that it has suspended the sale of boiler insurance cover.
There is sadly nothing in law to stop corporate bullying by companies of their own staff to sign terms they don’t accept and sacking those who don’t submit to this bullying.
But GMB members won’t accept the outcome of the bullying. This is why they are staging the 43rd day of strike action on Wednesday 14th. I have news for Mr OShea. This is not the end of the dispute. So as well as Mr O Shea being in dispute with his own staff he is now in dispute with the national union GMB. This is why this dispute will continue and become an official national lockout dispute. There will be more strikes and action short of strikes.
The British Gas leadership disaster reaches its low point on April 14 with mass sackings of British Gas Engineers – in the only consistently profitable part of the company – by a management team too stupid to see the true value of a uniquely skilled and loyal workforce.
With hundreds of thousands waiting in the backlog for service, customers have been treated as collateral and so it seems too will staff – as Mr O’Shea prepares to go down in history as the first major FT listed CEO to mass sach his highly skilled and qualified engineers his customers are waiting to visit them. They are his most valuable asset. He will be universally condemned by politicians and public alike for doing so.
The arrogant gamble has been lost. Any fool can start a war and, it seems, ruin a good business. History will not be kind to Mr O’Shea or the Centrica Board who failed to rein in him and his out of control leadership.”