Govt shares blame for gas jobs going

by - 18th November 2011, 9.52 GMT

The government’s economic paralysis is partly to blame for the loss of more than 1,000 jobs at British Gas, says the GMB.

The union, which earlier this autumn described Chancellor George Osborne as having “the economic literacy of a stick of rhubarb”, is planning a lobby of Parliament to bring the issue to MPs after the announcement of 850 jobs going in the services business.

The job losses will primarily affect front line managers and call centre staff .These job losses cover field based staff across the UK and call centre staff in Oldbury in West Midlands, Uddingston in Scotland, Stockport and Leicester.

The company confirmed plans to shelve one out of 10 employees in its service section which deals with boilers in domestic premises. These job losses come on top of earlier announcement of 270 job cuts in other business streams taking the total job losses to more than 1,100

The GMB’s National Secretary for Energy, Gary Smith, said: “We have been involved in discussions with the company on all aspects of the services business. British Gas remains a profitable business and GMB will be pushing them on their responsibilities to their employees.

“We’re acutely aware that the backdrop to this announcement is a government that is absolutely paralysed with no growth strategy. Any action they have taken has exacerbated the situation and not made it better. The lack of a strategy for economic growth is having a massive effect on jobs in the private sector and British Gas is a case in point.

“The boiler scrappage scheme under the previous Labour Government was hugely successful in getting more efficient appliances into customer’s homes and protecting jobs. We have seen nothing as imaginative from the coalition. In the run up to the election they made great play of their green credentials.

“At a time when the government has committed to reducing carbon emissions in the economy there should be a boom in employment in the energy sector. The lack of progress over The Green Deal, the slash and burn approach to solar feed in tariffs and the uncertainty over the future of smart metering is bad for energy bills and the environment as well as being as disaster in terms of job opportunities.”