The GMB energy and general union declared an end to the long and bitter dispute with British Gas over its aggressive policy of firing and rehiring workers. GMB members voted three to one to accept a new deal. Around 7,000 British Gas engineers staged 44 days of strike action after the company threatened to sack them if they didn’t sign up to detrimental changes to their terms and conditions. The new deal offers improvements to overtime rates and unsocial hours payments, places limits on the amount of unsocial working undertaken, reverses the decision to close the defined benefit pension scheme
A successful legal case backed by the UNISON public services union means that employers will no longer be able to mistreat workers who take part in union-organised workplace disputes. UK law had previously prevented employers from sacking staff, but not from disciplining or making life difficult for them. The employment appeal tribunal (EAT) case was taken by care worker Fiona Mercer against the Alternative Futures Group. She had been involved in a long-running dispute and was disciplined, suspended, and prevented from going into work by her employer. The EAT said that UK law was not compliant
Members of the PCS civil service union at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) in Swansea, South Wales, have agreed to take another four days of strike action from 4-7 May. This follows the four-day action on 6-9 April that the union says was strongly supported. PCS is concerned that DVLA management have failed to take action to address safety concerns following very high levels of COVID-19 infections at the site where 4000 workers are employed. The union has also argued about the level of continuing risk involved from allowing 2000 workers to carry on working at the site.
Over 1400 workers, members of the PCS civil service union, took strike action from 6-9 April in protest at the failure to address safety issues at the Driver Vehicle and Licensing Agency (DVLA) in Swansea in South Wales. Over 600 DVLA employees have tested positive for COVID since last September with no effective response from management or the Department of Transport (DoT). Following the strike the union has called for immediate talks to resume with the DoT and will be discussing next steps with members.
Around 9000 employees of British Gas were due to begin a five-day strike from 7 January in protest at the company’s decision to fire all workers and rehire them on worse pay and conditions. British Gas’s parent company Centrica claimed the measures are necessary in response to the impact of the pandemic. However, the GMB trade union, representing engineers and call-centre staff argue that the initiative is excessive particularly in view of the company’s latest reported operating profits. 89% of the union’s members in the company voted for the strike action.