THE GMB union has announced further strike dates for British Gas workers over Centrica’s fire and re-hire tactics.

The recently announced dates from the GMB are just a few of the 12 strikes it has planned to dispute the new contracts. Further action is expected from the union unless the deadlock is broken.

SNP MP Gavin Newlands said: “It’s shameful that workers during this difficult time are being left with no option but to strike due to the exploitative fire and re-hire tactics being imposed upon them by Centrica.

“At a time when households have been pushed into hardship and many people have lost their jobs due to the pandemic, punishing workers by threatening them with the sack unless they accept reduced contracts and working conditions is unacceptable.

“In Parliament, I have brought forward a bill with cross-party support which would make the practice illegal – if the Prime Minister is genuine about protecting workers, then he must step up and commit to backing the bill to ban fire and re-hire tactics without any further delay.”

The GMB said its 7000 members have “stood firm” during 12 days of industrial action so far this year.

The union claims the backlog of appointments caused by the industrial action has grown to 170,000 but the company disputes this figure. British Gas maintains it is trying to avoid redundancies and stressed that basic pay and pensions are being protected.

Justin Bowden, GMB national officer, said the company was pressing ahead with the new contracts, adding: “The majority of field staff are not prepared to accept the imposed cuts to pay and conditions.”

Andy McDonald MP, shadow employment rights and protections secretary, said: “Threatening workers with the sack unless they agree to cuts to wages and conditions is a disgraceful practice.”