British Gas strike at crucial stage

British Gas strike Leicester February 2021, photo Steve Score

British Gas strike Leicester February 2021, photo Steve Score   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

Iain Dalton, Leeds Socialist Party

After the elation of recent picket lines, following the decisive voting down of the latest British Gas offer, there was a more sombre mood on the picket lines on Friday 12 March. This followed the union sending letters with legal advice recommending that strikers sign new contracts by 25 March.

This move, seemingly over the heads of the elected reps, was the subject of much debate on the picket line, with many criticising the timing of the letters being sent the day before this latest round of strike action.

The mood of those on the picket lines was still one of determination to oppose the attacks on their pay, terms and conditions implied in the new contracts. Goodwill that was previously there towards the company has evaporated. Many workers are determined to do what is currently contracted and no more.

The impact of the letter has been to turn a debate over how to deal with the looming imposition of the new contracts collectively into a decision for individual workers.

Instead of sending out surveys, which many strikers haven’t seen, a strategy of how the strike could be escalated further following the rejection should be discussed by the reps and put to a national meeting of the workers on strike to decide upon.

The Socialist Party says:

  • Solidarity with the British Gas strikers
  • End ‘fire and rehire’
  • Renationalise British Gas under democratic workers’ control