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British Gas picket line, Windsor

British Gas picket line, Windsor. Photo: Margery Thorogood

Workers at British Gas have begun another round of strikes to demand the company abandons its fire and rehire plans. Counterfire members report from picket lines around the country

 

Uddingston - Sophie Johnson

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Photo: Sophie Johnson

This morning a group of around 30 workers stood outside the British Gas plant in Uddingston, Scotland for Day 23 of their strike. Most of the workers present were engineers but they were also joined by a smaller group of office workers who have been striking and standing in solidarity with their colleagues.

One engineer spoke of the depth of the anger regarding the new contracts:

“I’ve worked for the company for 31 years and I’ve had one strike day up until this, we’re not a militant workforce. There’s always been collective bargaining and recommendations that we would come to an agreement as a workforce with the management team but this management’s put that all up in the air.” 

He also commented on the larger fire and rehire policy:

“It’s a really nasty thing to do, turn round on your own workforce and say I just don’t think you’re worth it. We were out last year through the covid outbreak, we were essential workers putting our own lives risk and then two months later they turn round and say we’re paying you too much.”

He advised, “You’ve  got to come stand up for yourselves when something like this happens, it’s bullying.” 

The office workers here have been on strike since the 7th of January. They were also threatened with the “fire and rehire” policy and as a result their contacts will change on the 1st of April. Nonetheless, “we’re here for the engineers”, one woman commented.

Stockport - Karen Buckley

Windsor - Margery Thorogood

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Photo: Sophie Johnson

GMB engineers are back on strike after talks with British Gas broke down. Outside Centrica in Windsor today, Slough & District Trades Council and Windsor Labour Party out to support them, adding to the regular toots from passing motorists and one bicycle bell!

The battle continues. Fire and rehire must go.

How you can support British Gas strikers

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