Gas engineers threaten strike action in pensions dispute

As temperatures plummet, British Gas engineers have voted by four to one to take strike action in a dispute over pensions.

The decision on the form and dates of the industrial action will be made tomorrow, but the GMB union said Action is likely to commence in the next four weeks.

The engineers responsible for domestic work (not gas mains) and carry out three million boiler services and three million breakdown visits a year, as well as installing central heating systems.

The union said engineers would make safety visits to ensure domestic appliances could be reconnected safely in the event of a major gas supply failure.

The pensions dispute arises because British Gas parent company, Centrica, plans to close the engineers’ final salary scheme to new starters from January.

Centrica intends to offer new starters a career-average pension, which the union claims will enable the company to halve its contributions.

Brian Strutton, GMB national secretary, said: “This is a bad time of year for a dispute in the gas industry and the last thing GMB members working as gas engineers want is to leave customers with no heating and hot water.”

“We urge British Gas/Centrica to listen to their employees, back off, and agree with our reasonable proposal to review the pension scheme,” he said.

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