The GMB, the trade union representing the engineers, will negotiate with British Gas at conciliation service ACAS this week following a walkout on Friday after talks broke down. Two years ago British Gas, which is owned by Centrica, said it would keep the scheme open in return for a 1% rise in employee contributions, but now the company wants to close the pension program.

Brian Strutton, GMB national secretary said, This could be the breakthrough GMB has been looking for. GMB is suspending the industrial action for the rest of this week to allow ACAS talks to take place. However, next Monday’s (19th) planned 24 hour strike remains in place should the ACAS talks fail. I hope that won’t be necessary.

The GMB said in a statement that the strike on Monday, December 12 by the 6,000 gas engineers was solid, with only those on agreed emergency duties working.