Despite the announcement in the summer from Centrica that it would dismiss all its workforce and re employ them on lesser terms by year end, UNISON has continued to engage in talks with the business to see if a negotiated outcome was possible.
At the same time UNISON have been making the necessary preparations to hold a lawful Industrial Action ballot. This work is complete, and a ballot was set to commence next week.
However, in recent weeks the negotiations between the unions and the business have started to make some progress which is welcomed. This has been achieved through the hard work of your union negotiators and supported externally by the political pressure that has been placed on the business thanks to the excellent efforts of members contacting their MPs, MSP’s and MS’s.
Both the trade unions and Centrica management recognise that more time is needed to explore further the grounds for a negotiated outcome that better protects our members but also plays a part in the business recovery that is required. Ultimately this may not be possible but sufficient progress has been made to allow us some confidence that a settlement which could be put to members, could still be arrived at.
With that in mind and with written and binding assurances now received from the business not to action the S188 notice while we continue to pursue a negotiated outcome, the trade unions have agreed to pause their Industrial Action ballots. This could be revisited with immediate effect should it be required but there remains positive intent to find a negotiated outcome and this should be allowed to continue.
This pause does not mean a total solution has been found but it does mean we can continue to focus on possible ways forward with a view to bringing a resolution to put to UNISON members. This is likely to take a few more weeks and while I know many are anxious about the proposed changes we are working hard on what are complex issues.
Please Remember – Defending members jobs and your terms and conditions is only possible because of the strong trade union density within British Gas.
British Gas S188 T&C Update 09/10/2020