Meaning of the British Gas Fire and Rehire Strike

More than 7,000 workers at British Gas initiated a five-day strike. 
The main reason behind the strike is a change of pay and conditions. The protest is related to the "fire and rehire" policy, where the staff has to accept pay cuts and cuts to benefits.

Claims of the Staff

As per the GMB union (also the strike coordinator), the staff at British Gas owner Centrica are being bullied to accept new contracts as part of a 'fire and rehire' plan.

These contracts contain changes to existing terms and conditions the union believes unfairly penalises staff, including:

  • Working hours are increased to 40 hours from 37 hours. As a result, the employees are combating 156 extra work hours per year.
  • A change in core working hours (from 8-6 to 7-9) including loosing previous overtime pay.

If the contracts are not signed employees will lose their job completely.

What does Centrica Say?

However, Centrica denies the claims completely and no employees will lose their job entirely. Instead, they stated that they will be re-employed for other roles.

Centrica also claim that the staff agreed to the terms and conditions.

As per a spokesperson of Centrica, the company is providing adequate protection of base pay and pensions. Also, 83% of workers were comfortable with the terms and conditions.

The GMB Union, on the other hand, says that the salaries have been cut by 10%.

According to Mr. Justin Bowden (National secretary of GMB), currently, the only way to stop the strike is by taking back the fire and rehire scheme.

The past few years have been a little difficult for British Gas. So many speculate the recent changes have been made to turn around the losses. in 2019 the energy provider lost 1 million clients, with nearly £1 billion loss for 2019.

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