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GMB Birmingham & West Midlands Region

GMB calls for British Gas action

Monday, April 25, 2016

GMB CALLS ON DAVID CAMERON TO KEEP HIS PROMISE TO HELP SAVE OVER 680 BRITISH GAS JOBS AT OLDBURY, WEST MIDLANDS BEFORE TIME RUNS OUT

The clock is ticking and David Cameron must instruct his ministers to get this taskforce underway immediately or it will be too late says GMB.

On 20 April, British Gas announced plans to close its office at Oldbury in the West Midlands with the loss of over 680 jobs. During Prime Ministers Questions on the same day, David Cameron said he would set up a ministerial taskforce to try to save the jobs. However, nothing has happened and GMB, which represents 500 of the staff at Oldbury, expressed the disappointment and frustration of the staff. (See notes to editors for GMB press releases about job losses at British Gas).

Mark Bergman-GMB Regional Organiser for British Gas said "The GMB deplored the way that the closure of British Gas-Oldbury was announced. The majority of staff heard it on the news first.There was no consultation prior to the annoucement either with the GMB or with local GMB representatives.
 
The staff have been devastated by this unforeseen decision especially as they believed that Oldbury was a successful office and they were proud to work there.
 
I want to make it clear, there has been no consultation, no business case and no respect for the workforce at all."

Stuart Fegan, GMB National Officer, said "Our members at Oldbury were devastated by British Gas' shock announcement but thought they had been thrown a lifeline when the Prime Minister intervened. Despite his personal commitment that a ministerial taskforce would be set up to look at trying to save the jobs absolutely nothing has happened at all.

GMB wrote to the business secretary Sajid Javid asking to be involved in the taskforce but we are disappointed that we have had no reply. The trouble is that British Gas has only allowed 45 days for consultation before these job losses become finalised and nearly a week has gone with no action from government. The clock is ticking and GMB urges David Cameron to instruct his ministers to get this taskforce underway immediately or it will be too late."

End

Contact: Stuart Fegan on 07912 890434 or GMB press office on 07970 863411 or 07739 182691

Notes to editors

1 GMB press release dated Wednesday, April 20, 2016

GMB Welcomes Government Taskforce To Save British Gas Oldbury Jobs

Our Members do not want this taskforce to be a toothless tiger so GMB must be involved.

GMB, the union for British Gas workers, commented on the announcement this afternoon by Prime Minister David Cameron that the government will set up a taskforce to save the 684 jobs at risk from the closure of British Gas’ Oldbury site. (See notes to editors for a GMB press release about job losses at British Gas).

The Prime Minister told the commons that the government would make sure "a taskforce of ministers is available to talk to the company, to talk to the local community, to provide all the assistance in terms of retraining and other things that can be done to help."

Brian Strutton, GMB National Secretary, said "Thanks to local MP John Spellar's intervention, David Cameron has promised a ministerial taskforce to try to save the British Gas Oldbury office from closure, giving a possible lifeline to 680 workers at the site most of whom are GMB members.

However, our members do not want this taskforce to be a toothless tiger so on their behalf I've asked for GMB to be involved to make sure that saving jobs is the taskforce's top priority as it is ours."

End

2 GMB press release dated Wednesday, April 20, 2016

British Gas Announces 684 Job Losses And The Closure Of Their Oldbury Office

This announcement is further evidence of the way British Gas now sees staff as pawns to be sacrificed when it suits says GMB.

GMB, the union for British Gas workers, has reacted angrily to the announcement this morning that British Gas intends to close its office in Oldbury and put 684 staff, most of whom are GMB members, out of a job.

The announcement follows news on Monday (20th April 2016) that parent company Centrica will cut 3,000 jobs in 2016, having cut 800 jobs in the first three months of the year. (See notes to editors for previous GMB press releases about Centrica).

Brian Strutton, GMB National Secretary, said "This announcement has come completely out of the blue and is further evidence of the way British Gas now sees staff as pawns to be sacrificed when it suits.

The Oldbury office has been performing well, the staff there have been delivering everything asked of them and more, yet all the while the company's top brass on their multi-million pound pay packages have been harbouring secret plans to shut them down.

The news will be devastating for the workforce and the local community, coming hot on the heels of Npower's decision to also cut back its operations in Oldbury. GMB will fight British Gas to try to protect every job we can but today things look bleak for the Oldbury workers."

End

3 GMB press release dated Monday, April 18, 2016

3000 Job Losses At Centrica In 2016 As Part Of £750m Per Annum Cuts

Staff are confused and disillusioned, managers don't know if they're staying or going and the only word from the top is cut, cut, cut says GMB.

GMB, the union for energy workers, commented on the announcement today, Monday 18th April 2016, from Centrica that it would cut a total of 3000 jobs in 2016, with 800 jobs being cut in the first three months of the year. (See notes to editors for previous GMB press releases about Centrica).

The job losses are part of an expected £200 million of efficiency savings in 2016 towards Centrica’s £750 million per annum cost efficiency programme.

Brian Strutton, GMB National Secretary, said "Centrica's main operating business, British Gas, is going through considerable management upheaval while trying to implement major cost and headcount reductions which is putting the whole business under real strain and it is creaking.

Staff are confused and disillusioned, managers don't know if they're staying or going and the only word from the top is cut, cut, cut. Announcing even more job losses will be a bitter blow and GMB will be consulting with shop stewards and reps to discuss what steps to take."

End

4 GMB press release dated Tuesday, February 2, 2016

500 Job Losses At British Gas Due To Closure Of Loft And Cavity Wall Insulation Business

Job losses in the loft and cavity wall business are a real sickener with a further 4,000 job losses still to come in areas that have yet to be identified says GMB.

GMB, the union for workers in the gas industry, commented on the British Gas announcement to staff on 2nd Feb that 500 workers would be losing their jobs, largely as a result of the closure of the company's loft and cavity wall insulation business. See copy of Centrica press release dated 2nd Feb 2016.

Brian Strutton, GMB National Secretary, said "This is an early stage of the programme of 6,000 job losses announced by parent group Centrica's CEO Ian Conn last summer.

GMB expects a further 4,000 job losses still to come in areas that have yet to be identified.

The closure of the loft and cavity wall business with a loss of 500 jobs is a real sickener.

At the end of last year we went through a reorganisation which we were told was to make that business competitive and everyone thought that was behind us. But it seems while we were doing that the company was hatching secret plans to shut the whole operation down. Staff will feel gutted and we will think twice about believing anything the company says now.

British Gas was playing a significant part in tackling cold homes and improving energy efficiency. Now the government will need to look at revising it's carbon emission targets as a result of these and other job losses in the insulation sector."

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