Fife British Gas engineers hold final strike ahead of deadline
British Gas workers in Fife have held their final strike over a controversial ‘fire and rehire’ policy.
Engineers have been striking since January over new contracts put forward by British Gas, which would them working an extra 3-8 hours per week with no pay rise, a reduction in holidays, and a pay freeze for five years.
Staff claim they have been told they have until March 25 to sign the deal – or face being out of work.
Thousands of British Gas workers across the UK have been taking part in the strikes, with a small group of Fifer engineers protesting at the Windygates roundabout for the final time last Friday.
“It has always been a good place to work but things have deteriorated so badly that some of us have been affected by mental health issues,” said one of the workers.
"It feels like we’re being pushed and pulled – what is best for the company, best for the unions, best for our families.”The protesters were joined by councillors David Alexander and Alistair Suttie, who said: “Everybody is worried about their jobs, and to have this added worry and stress, it must be awful. I hope the company will come to a solution which suits them and takes the pressure of the workers.”
Glenrothes and Central Fife MP, Peter Grant has called on the UK Government to ban the exploitative practice of firms seeking to fire and then rehire staff on significantly reduced contract terms.
"The current strike by British Gas workers could have been prevented months ago if the UK Government had adopted my colleague’s Bill banning fire and rehire tactics,” he said.
"Beyond the warm words for workers, there has been no action from the Prime Minister to actually protect them from this exploitative practice.
Fife Council co-leaders David Alexander and David Ross have written to British Gas calling for fire and rehire policy to be dropped.
A spokesperson for Centrica, which owns British Gas, said: “We must change to protect 20,000 UK jobs. There is a job for everyone at the end of this difficult process and our new terms are still very competitive. Our aim is to make sure colleagues have the information they need to make a choice.’’