The leader of a council that has spent more than £9 million with British Gas over the past five years has urged the company to withdraw its fire and rehire plan.
Councillor James Lewis, Leader of Leeds City Council, has written to Chris O’Shea, Chief Executive of Centrica, calling for him to remove the threat of fire and rehire hanging over British Gas workers.
The letter says councillors ‘were particularly shocked to hear about threats to hire and rehire workers in Leeds if they do not accept the changes proposed’.
It adds they are concerned about ‘potential impact of strikes on British Gas customers in Leeds, with increasing delays to repair and service visits.’
The councillors ask Mr O’Shea 'change course, withdraw the hire and rehire threat, and resume meaningful negotiations to ensure a shared recovery for the company’.
Leeds City Council is the latest in a line of council leaders who have intervened in the long running dispute which has led to 30 days of strike action so far by GMB members.
Talks between GMB and British Gas are taking place at ACAS, but GMB says the company must drop its fire and rehire plan if a deal is to be possible.
After 30 days of strikes, more than 250,000 homes are in a backlog for repairs and 350, 000 planned annual service visits have been axed.
Jake O’Malley, GMB Organiser, said:
“Leeds City Council have made it quite clear the failure of British Gas to withdraw the threat of fire and rehire and come to an agreement is alienating key customers –as well as being morally repugnant.
“If Mr O’Shea ploughs ahead with his cruel fire and rehire plan, he not only hurts customers and workers, ultimately he will hurt the company and shareholders too.
GMB entered into recent ACAS brokered talks in good faith, but a deal is only possible if the company takes its fire and rehire plan off the table.”