Leeds City Councillors call on British Gas to withdraw ‘fire and rehire’ plan

Centrica Chief is urged to start meaningful negotiations with workers

Pathway to COP26 report

Councillor James Lewis, Leader of Leeds City Council has written a letter to the boss of Centrica urging him to withdraw its ‘fire and rehire’ plan.

In the letter, Mr Lewis notes councillors were shocked to hear about threats to fire and rehire workers in Leeds if they do not accept the changes proposed.

He adds that he is concerned about the potential impact of strikes on British Gas customers in Leeds, with increasing delays to repair and service visits.

The councillors also urge Mr O’Shea to change course and start meaningful negotiations to ensure a shared recovery for the company.

Leeds City Council, which has spent more than £9 million with British Gas in the past five years is the latest in a line of council leaders who have stepped in in the long-running dispute that has led to 30 days of strike action so far by GMB members.

In response a Centrica spokesperson said: “There is a job for everyone at the end of this difficult process, but we must change. 83% of our workforce have agreed to the new terms and understand that our company needs to adapt to protect 20,000 UK jobs.

“Whilst we’ve reached collective agreements with the majority of our trade unions, we have been unable to secure an agreement with the GMB despite two extensive rounds of talks and making significant concessions.

“We’ll now talk directly to those colleagues who have not yet agreed their new contracts and we will go the extra mile to try and avoid the need to dismiss and reengage.

“My hope is that, through individual consultations, all remaining colleagues will choose to stay with us and help us deliver both the transformation of Centrica, and the net zero transition that our country needs.”

If you enjoyed this story you can sign up to our weekly email for Energy Live News – and if you’re interested in hearing more about the journey to net zero by 2050, you can also sign up to the future Net Zero newsletter. 

Latest Podcast