British gas strikesThe elderly fear British Gas strikes
12 December 2005
British Gas has said it will do its 'very best' to protect vulnerable customers during a series of strikes by its heating engineers.
Some 6,000 engineers, who repair household boilers, have today begun the first of a planned wave of strikes in the run-up to Christmas and the New Year. Further walkouts by members of the GMB union are scheduled for 19 and 21 December, and 6 and 9 January.
The GMB says out-of-hours cover will also be withdrawn from this evening, although a Christmas service would operate between 24 December and 3 January.
However, British Gas Home Services director Chris Weston said the firm would 'do our very best' to ensure vulnerable customers at least would still receive a service.
'We are bending over backwards to get as much qualified resource as we can into the field today; we will have over 1,000 engineers out there. I'm sure people understand we will have to prioritise the needs of our most vulnerable customers; that is customers with very young families, with a medical condition or who are frail and elderly.
'If you fall into one of those categories do not hesitate to call us and we will do our very best to help you,' he said on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme.
The strikes are in protest at the closure of the company's final salary pension scheme to new entrants.
If you need to arrange a visit by a British Gas engineer ring 0845 600 5100.