Doncaster British Gas workers join nationwide five day strike over new contracts

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British Gas workers in Doncaster have joined a nationwide five day strike in a dispute over new contracts.

Thousands of staff walked out across the country yesterday in response to an attempt by the firm to push through pay cuts by threatening to fire workers, union GMB said.

It accused Centrica owner British Gas of provoking the strike.

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Workers in Doncaster gathered near to the Tesco Extra store at Balby where British Gas uses lockers to store and deliver parts for workers.

Doncaster British Gas workers have joined a nationwide strike.Doncaster British Gas workers have joined a nationwide strike.
Doncaster British Gas workers have joined a nationwide strike.

Justin Bowden, GMB national secretary, said: "GMB members from Land's End to John O'Groats have stayed home, stayed safe and supported the first national gas strike in a decade.

"The months and months of fire and rehire pay cut threats from British Gas CEO Chris O'Shea have provoked thousands and thousands of GMB engineers and call centre staff to strike, the only option left to them by a business that made £901m operating profit yet still plans to sack them because they won't accept the scale of cuts it demands," he added.

A Centrica spokesman said: "We've done everything we can with the GMB to avoid industrial action.

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"While we've made great progress with our other unions, sadly the GMB leadership seems intent on causing disruption to customers during the coldest weekend of the year, amid a global health crisis and in the middle of a national lockdown," she said.

"We have strong contingency plans in place to ensure we will still be there for customers who really need us."

Almost 90% of GMB members voted for industrial action in a ballot of 9,000 members last month in response to an attempt by Centrica to cut some salaries by up to 10%, the union said.

In total, more than 7,500 staff could walk out, although Centrica said GMB had committed to ensure emergency callouts were not affected, adding that it also had contractors that it could call upon.

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In June, Centrica said it planned to to cut around 5,000 jobs to "arrest the decline" of the company.

Commenting on the strike, Centrica said 83% of workers had already accepted its new terms and conditions, which it said protected base pay and pensions.