Posted on: 26th August 2020 8:46pm
In a ballot carried out by the GMB union consulting its 10,000 British Gas members on the necessity of industrial action, 95% of respondents voted in favour of strikes against the company. This new turn of events comes in light of British Gas’s proposed fire and rehire scheme. The GMB union claims the energy giant is seeking to sack a considerable amount of its workforce, in order to then reinstate them on new contracts with less favourable terms and conditions.
In June of this year, Centrica reported that it was seeking to restructure its operations with a more customer focused approach. As part of this there are plans for 5000 redundancies, as well as changes to contractual terms, conditions and pay. The British Gas parent organisation stated to trade unions that it would indeed give some employees a notice of termination for their contracts, before offering a new contract with updated terms for the same job, yet that these new terms and conditions would be aligned with the market average. Centrica did also state no changes to base pay will be instated and that pensions were also to be protected during the restructure.
Justin Bowden, national secretary of the GMB union stated in response that ‘Centrica bosses are holding a box of matches and threatening to set fire to the terms and conditions of this loyal and dedicated workforce. It’s a complete and utter betrayal of the British Gas brand… The company have already burnt through the confidence of its staff. Today’s 19 to 1 vote demonstrates GMB members are not prepared to tolerate fire and rehire threats’
Posted on: 15th August 2020 11:11pm
NatWest is expected to slash up to 800 retail branch jobs. The major commercial bank has stated that it will discard the 550 positions through voluntary redundancies made by application and also supported by a “comprehensive support package”. The bank has made clear it shall not be enforcing any mandatory redundancies. However, Rob MacGregor, a national officer for the trade union Unite has stated redundancies will be up to 800 once part-time workers are also included into the nationwide job cut.
The bank had been considering streamlining its retail operation with redundancies even before the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown. NatWest has reported that it has witnessed a gradual decline with in person branch transactions over the years as online banking has emerged and become more popular. NatWest therefore was already due to undergo a £250 million reduction in order to downsize its retail operations. Despite this, the bank has made clear it does not plan to close down any of its actual branches entirely.
To add to the redundancies, NatWest also plans to liquidate one of its three London offices. The Regents House office which is to be closed down accounts for 2500 NatWest employees. A NatWest spokesperson stated “As part of these changes, we will be ensuring our buildings will work better for us in future, creating spaces where colleagues can come together.” As a result, the bank has decided to restructure its remaining offices at both Bishopsgate and the Strand.