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Stop the British Gas fire

Stop the British Gas fire. Photo: GMB union

Striking British Gas workers are continuing to turn up the heat by extending their action for another four days, reports Chris Neville

The GMB union, representing the striking British Gas engineers announced on Monday that the current round of strikes, totalling twelve days so far, will be extended by another four days.

The workers will continue to withdraw their labour from the 5th of February until the 8th after British Gas failed to drop their threats to reduce their terms and conditions using the controversial section 188 fire and rehire tactics.

GMB is reporting that, as a result of the strikes, British Gas customers are now facing a huge backlog for servicing and repairs. They also say that British Gas is making 'bogus' claims about clearing this backlog.

The backlog of work, along with polls showing the general public overwhelmingly oppose fire and rehire, adds to the pressure on the management to propose an acceptable resolution.

But the biggest headache for the management comes from the workers themselves who are showing no sign of giving up. Striking for a total of sixteen days just after the most expensive time of the year takes some determination, but the GMB members at British Gas have demonstrated that they will not cower.

It is important to consider the wider context of the reason for this strike. Employers across the UK are using coronavirus as an excuse to push through changes to workers' contracts that will put any financial burden onto the workers. In some cases, this is in response to falling profits but in others, it is simply a case of opportunist employers seeking to cash in on the crisis.

The British Gas engineers are fighting back to save their jobs but had they accepted the proposed changes to their terms, other companies would be emboldened to try similar tactics. It is because of this that the whole labour movement must support every point of resistance against such actions.

Please support the British Gas strikers by urgently passing this model resolution at your trade union branch, CLP or other organisation and sign the solidarity message here.

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