Socialist Worker

British Gas workers vote for strike

Issue No. 2194

Workers at British and Scottish Gas are set to strike. Some 8,000 GMB union members have voted by 82 percent for strikes against “macho management” in the company.

The union has given bosses a week before it decides when to call action.

The workers include gas service engineers, central heating boiler engineers and distribution depot workers.

The workers voted by 95 percent for a formal ballot in a consultative ballot last month.

The GMB has seen internal documents that show that British Gas bosses want to cut up to 5,000 jobs.

This may involve the closure of operations in some places.

The union fears that job losses could hit workers in Stockport, Edinburgh, Leicester, Leeds, Cardiff, Oldbury, Southampton and Uddingston near Glasgow.

Workers say that new boss Phil Bentley has ushered in a new bullying management culture.

A recent survey by the GMB shows that British Gas workers feel under increasing pressure and are angry at their bosses.

One email from Bentley reads, “The big, hairy, audacious goal I’ve thrown down in One British Gas (OBG) is to reduce our

non-customer facing full time equivalent by 25 percent.

“I’m committed to taking a one-off axe to the overheads that have been build up [sic] over the years.”

GMB general secretary Paul Kenny said, “British Gas has turned from being a reasonable employer where people had job satisfaction into one with a culture of bullying, customer exploitation and profits at all costs.”

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Article information

Tue 23 Mar 2010, 19:30 GMT
Issue No. 2194
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