Business of the House

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 11:45 am on 1st October 2020.

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Photo of John Cryer John Cryer Labour, Leyton and Wanstead 11:45 am, 1st October 2020

Has the Leader of the House seen early-day motion 884, in my name and the names of others?

[That this House recognises the constructive approach taken by GMB Union and Unison in negotiations around their members’ pay and conditions with British Gas and its parent company Centrica; condemns the tactics employed by that company in commencing those negotiations with threats to dismiss and re-engage its UK workforce on lesser terms; commends British Gas workers who while furloughed during the covid-19 outbreak voluntarily delivered thousands of food parcels with the Trussell Trust; and calls on the company to do the right thing, withdraw the Section 188 notice of potential redundancies and negotiate in good faith with workers’ unions.]

It is about Centrica’s outrageous threat to sack its entire workforce unless they agree to new and far worse terms and conditions and pay. We have not seen this practice universally, but across one or two sectors of the economy, and it seems to be growing and proliferating. If ever there was a strategically important industry, it is Centrica. If, through the short-sightedness of the management, Centrica finds itself without a workforce, we will be in serious trouble. Can we have a statement from the Business Secretary?