LONDON (Reuters) – Workers at Centrica’s British Gas will stage a second series of five one-day strikes in protest over proposed changes to work conditions, the GMB trade union said on Tuesday.
GMB said its members would strike on Jan. 20, Jan. 22, Jan. 25, Jan. 29 and Feb. 1 over what it described as Centrica’s plans to “fire and rehire” and cuts to workers’ pay and terms.
GMB said around 7,000 Centrica employees took part in a strike last week, mostly engineers and some call staff. It said it expected a similar number for the new round of strike action.
Workers carried out five days of strike action against the proposals at the beginning of January. Centrica employed 27,000 people at end of 2019.
Centrica last year cancelled its dividend and announced plans to cut about 5,000 jobs, almost 20% of its global workforce, and said it would change the terms of worker contracts, as the utility stepped up restructuring in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and amid dwindling customer numbers.
GMB said British Gas workers rejected the “fire and rehire” pay cuts with an overwhelming 89% vote to support strike action.
Centrica said over 83% of its workforce had already accepted its new terms.
“This shows most of our people understand that our business needs to change because customer needs are changing,” a Centrica spokesperson said via email.
(Reporting by Susanna Twidale; Editing by Louise Heavens and Edmund Blair)