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
Bringing services back in-house
EPSU has consistently argued in favour of direct provision of public services to guarantee the quality of services and the quality of employment for workers delivering those services. Under the heading of remunicipalisation EPSU supports and promotes any initiatives to bring services back in-house where they have been privatised along with moves to have new services run by municipalities and other public authorities. EPSU is part of a network, coordinated by the Transnational Institute that has published research highlighting recent trends in remunicipalisation and insourcing.
Poor treatment of employees, outdated equipment and low quality of services – outsourcing and privatisation of municipal services has similar negative effects whether it takes place in Poland or Norway.
Last week, the European Social Partners in the gas sector held a joint webinar, hosted by MEPs Agnes Jongerius (S&D) and Dennis Radtke (EPP), on the transition to climate neutrality and the need to ensure that is just for the workers in the gas sector.
Over 30 representatives from 14 countries met online last week (18 June) to debate how to bring public services back in-house. The meeting was part of a project involving EPSU and being coordinated by the trade union-backed Syndex consultancy.