British Gas engineer Stuart Wilton on strike. The sign he’s holding relates to the company executive Chris O’Shea.

Spalding British Gas engineer goes on strike

A Spalding engineer for British Gas has outlined why he and thousands others across the country have been on strike in the past few days.

Stuart Wilton erected a sign outside his home stating #StopTheBritishGasFire and stopped working from Thursday, January 7 to Monday, January 11.

The 46-year-old father of two has been an engineer for nearly 20 years after previously being in the Army with the Royal Engineers for a decade.

The strike has been organised in protest at proposed new conditions branded ‘Fire and Rehire’ being placed on employees.

Stuart says they include all visits to homes taking no more than 20 minutes and that engineers taking longer needing to make the time up by working without pay on other jobs. Failure to do so could mean disciplinary action including being fired.

Other proposed changes include not paying for the first and last half hours of the working day as engineers are currently paid when they first get in the van.

British Gas have said the changes are about modernisation and making the engineers more agile.

Stuart, who says he already does a 45-hour week during the busier winter months, said: “It’s not all about money and not all about ourselves.

“We don’t believe 20 minutes is enough time to do every job and we want to make sure we do jobs safely without having to worry about then having to work for free or potentially being fired.

“There’s also anger that the details of this have been dripped out as British Gas just wanted us to sign it.

“I used to enjoy the job very much. Meeting the customers is brilliant and no two jobs are the same.

“But it’s quite an anxious time at the minute, particularly with going into people’s homes during this pandemic and I’m a part time carer for my 82-year-old mum.”

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