Millionaire fat cats on British Gas board urged to curb hated ‘fire and rehire’ policy

Millionaire fat cats on British Gas board urged to curb hated ‘fire and rehire’ policy

 

Millionaire fat cats on the British Gas board are being urged to curb chief exec Chris O’Shea’s hated “fire and rehire” policy.

GMB, whose 7,000 members are due to strike again today, says four board members have earned £37million in roles outside British Gas since 2015.

The “millionaire’s club” includes chairman Scott Wheway and executive directors Heidi Mottram, Kevin O’Byrne and Stephen Hester.

Johnathan Ford joined the board last June on £495,000 a year but resigned on Monday.

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He had earned £9.75m as COO of Homeserve.

GMB says Hester alone made £18m as CEO of insurer RSA from 2015-19 and warns that the group cannot relate to their loyal, hard-working engineers taking action on threats to fire them.

The 20,000 workforce were warned last year they could lose their jobs if they do not agree to new terms on less pay.

Justin Bowden, GMB national secretary, said: “The Centrica millionaire’s club are rich beyond the dreams of any British Gas engineer.

“They will never succeed in grinding loyal, hard-working staff into submission just to earn a few more quid at the expense of customers.

“They have been remiss.

“They should have asked Mr O’Shea how his plans would impact on British Gas customers when the engineers inevitably rejected hourly rates 15% below agreed pay rates.

“The Centrica board should rein in the hopelessly out of touch and naive Mr O’Shea.

“His obsession with sacking the whole workforce and rehiring them on worse terms and conditions will ultimately cost the company dearly.”

In 2019, the UK’s biggest energy provider said it lost £1.1billion – despite a pre-tax adjusted profit of £901m – due to restructuring.

GMB pointed to its adjusted operating profit of £229m for its UK domestic heating business for the six months to last June, up 27% on 2019.

British Gas parent company Centrica held 300 hours of talks with GMB last year but they collapsed without a deal.

It cut around 5,000 jobs to arrest decline.

It has lost two million energy customers, a million services customers and over half its earnings in 10 years.

A Centrica spokesperson said: “Once again the GMB are trying to distract from the fact 83% of the company have agreed to new contracts.

“Our non-executive directors bring a huge amount of experience to the complexity of running large organisations, and have not had a fee increase since 2016.

“Our CEO’s pay is 19% less than our previous CEO.”

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