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HomeUK NewsBritish Gas lay off hundreds of staff after refusing new contracts

British Gas lay off hundreds of staff after refusing new contracts

Hundreds of engineers for British Gas had lost their jobs on Wednesday following a bitter row between the company and its staff

Hundreds of engineers for British Gas had lost their jobs on Wednesday following a bitter row between the company and its staff.

The British Gas engineers had refused to sign up to new contracts that would force them to work more hours, after being told to accept tougher conditions or that they would lose their jobs.

Hundreds more engineers for the company have already agreed to these new deals, a key issue within the nine-month contract deadlock that had begun last summer when the company announced it would axe more than 5,000 jobs.

This comes after pub-goers will need to wrap up warm, with low temperatures forecast as outdoor hospitality, such as beer gardens, reopen in England. Snow, sleet and low, freezing temperatures forecast for large parts of the United Kingdom.

In July, the owner of British Gas told more than 21,000 staff to accept new contracts or potentially lose their jobs.

Britain’s largest energy supplier has said that it was trying to restructure its employment contracts to shore up its financial position following its years of shrinking customer numbers and its declining profits.

The company has seen its market value decrease by more than 75% in the last five years alone.

The job losses are the latest development within a saga that has been described as being “corporate bullying” by the labour union GMB.

“That British Gas doesn’t give a toss for either customers or staff is shown by the mass sackings of engineers who are badly needed by customers,” a spokesperson for GMB said.

The labour union has staged 43 days of strike action against the controversial “fire and rehire” scheme. These new terms have been accepted by most of the trade unions and employees, however.

Full-time engineers who had agreed to these new contracts will be be required to work an extra three hours a week, but will not be paid any more for working on weekends and public holidays.

This comes after 1.1 million people in private households in the UK have reported having long COVID, latest estimates show. The data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) defined the condition as symptoms that lasted more than four weeks and are self-reported, rather than clinically diagnosed.

GMB said that the changes amounted to a 15% cut in pay rates.

Centrica, the parent company of British Gas, plummeted to a £362m loss last year, blaming the coronavirus and lower commodities prices for these disappointing results.

“While change is difficult, reversing our decline which has seen us lose over three million customers, cut over 15,000 jobs and seen profits halved over the last 10 years is necessary,” Centrica said in an statement emailed to Reuters news agency.

Eve Cooper
Eve Cooper
I've been writing articles and stories for as long as I can remember and in the past few years I've had the fortune of turning that love & passion for writing into my job 🙂

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