British Gas bosses are being asked to explain by Unite, the country’s largest union, why it is axing 4,000 jobs after its owner Centrica banked profits of £1.25 billion.

Unite regional coordinating officer Paresh Patel said: “The plan by British Gas’ owner Centrica to cut 4,000 jobs, while still reporting handsome group profits of £1.25 billion needs to be put under the microscope.

“These still large profits indicate that the company’s strategy is weighed towards dividends for shareholders at the expense of workers’ jobs. And I am sure that the highly remunerated directors won’t be taking a hit to their fat pay cheques.

“Unite will be asking for an urgent meeting with British Gas management to hear the business case in detail for these job losses – the company has not been clear where these cuts will take place.

“Unite represents about 300 British Gas field engineers across the UK and we will want to know how our members’ jobs may be impacted by today’s statement.

“Unite is committed to working with the company to avoid compulsory job losses.

“Ironically, while the profits of the Centrica Group have fallen, the British Gas operation saw a three per cent increase in profits to £572 million.

“British Gas says that these job losses are needed to take into account any future energy price caps by the government – we don’t believe that workers should pay with their jobs because of such a proposal.

“Furthermore, given the below inflation pay rises during the past few years and, despite the commitment by the company to preserve jobs, this is another slap in the face for workers at British Gas/Centrica.”

It is reported that the company's British workforce was already slashed by 2,100 roles on a like-for-like basis in 2017, taking the total number of job cuts to 5,500 since the start of 2016.

ENDS

Notes to editors:

For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940. Unite press office is on: 020 3371 2065 Email: shaun.noble@unitetheunion.org

Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.