Union urges PM to 'get a grip' to save jobs amid ongoing energy crisis

10 October 2021, 20:11 | Updated: 10 October 2021, 23:30

Boris Johnson has been told to "get a grip" to avoid job losses in the energy industry
Boris Johnson has been told to "get a grip" to avoid job losses in the energy industry. Picture: Alamy

By Daisy Stephens

A senior union leader has urged Boris Johnson to "get a grip" to avert job losses and pay cuts as a result of the energy crisis.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said industry chiefs and Government ministers should work with unions to ensure no jobs are lost as a result of the crisis, accusing the two of being in an 'irresponsible stand-off'.

"The country is now in the ridiculous position of contemplating factory shutdowns across viable manufacturing and businesses because we have unsustainable energy costs to add into the storm caused by supply chain shortages," said Ms Graham.

"Unite's members must not pay for this crisis - which is absolutely not of their making - with insecurity and attacks on jobs and pay. Workers and their families are worried sick about their jobs and incomes as we go into winter.

"I call upon the Prime Minister to get a grip on this crisis and bang heads together. The stand-off between ministers and industry is irresponsible and threatens jobs and our recovery."

Read more: Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng: Energy price cap 'not going anywhere'

Read more: Lebanon’s electricity supply shuts off as power stations run out of fuel

Ms Graham added that UK industry's short-termism was "coming home to roost" with problems across manufacturing and energy, which employ hundreds of thousands of skilled workers.

She said: "Our energy sector is in crisis; suppliers are going bust and homeowners are facing massive price hikes.

"Added to this, the failure to guarantee the UK's energy security and to properly plan for and invest in the future threatens thousands of jobs for construction in our 'new nuclear' sector.

"We are at a crossroads now and the only responsible way to respond to the problems before us is collectively."

It comes as Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng told LBC that the energy price cap would remain in place as wholesale gas prices soar, putting several energy suppliers out of business.

"The best way we can protect consumers as far as bills are concerned is with the energy price cap," Mr Kwarteng told Swarbrick on Sunday.

"That's not going anywhere."

Read more: Energy crisis: Warnings of blackouts in India and China and gas prices soar in Europe

Read more: Supply chain crisis: Thousands more HGV drivers to be trained - but not before Christmas

The gas supply problem is a global issue, with Lebanon being left completely without power over the weekend as the country's two main power plants closed.

There have been warnings of similar blackouts in China and India as both grapple with diminishing coal supplies.