I WRITE this as the TUC@ Heart Union week comes to a conclusion.

A week in which the invaluable contribution that the trade union movement makes has been celebrated.

Readers of the Craven Herald will need no reminding that it was through the action of trade union members of UNITE at Rolls Royce that the whole economy of Barnoldswick has just been saved. Anyone benefitting from the current furlough scheme have the unions to thank for it and the work of defending the safety of our key workers goes on.

If anybody is in any doubt of how much workers need their trade union consider the prevalence of 'fire and re hire' policies.

Workers, often key workers, are being forced to choose between accepting longer hours with less pay or lose their jobs.

Although Tory Secretary of State for Business and Energy Kwasi Kwartang has said that he has concerns about this unjust practice, the Tories are not prepared to outlaw it.

Contrast this with (Labour leader) Keir Starmer’s comments to the TUC in September 2020 that fire and hire should be illegal.

An example of this fire and re hire policy is happening at Centrica (formerly British Gas).

Gas workers represented by the GMB union are facing the sack unless they accept unsafe new working contracts.

This despite Centrica making pre-tax profits of £901 million. Some thanks for the efforts of these key workers during the pandemic.

The GMB argue that it is unsafe to impose a quota of jobs per shift in safety critical work.

Is it right that a gas engineer has to rush or cut corners working in your home because they have a set number of visits that they are contracted to make each day? That is what Centrica are trying to force onto their workforce simply to increase their already huge profits.

You can support the gas workers by signing the petition. Visit gmb.org/british-gas.

Peter Bell

Trade Union Liaison Officer.

Skipton and Settle Labour Party.