British Gas boss celebrates covid for suppressing media scrutiny

11 Jan 2021
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Leaked video shows Matthew Bateman pleased that catastrophes ‘taking headline space’ from industrial action

A leaked video which shows a British Gas boss celebrating the covid crisis for keeping the strike out of the news has come to light.

In the clip, from an internal British Gas meeting, Managing Director Mathew Bateman is seen praising the global pandemic for ‘taking headline space’ from the industrial action.

Thousands of British Gas engineers and other workers across the UK have downed tools this week as part of five days of industrial action.

Furious workers hit the company with an overwhelming 89% ‘yes’ vote for strike action after parent company Centrica threatened to fire them all and rehire them on worse terms and conditions.

Politicians and members of the public up and down the country have rallied behind the engineers, asking why British Gas CEO Mr O’Shea is provoking an engineers’ strike in the depths of winter.

Scores of engineers have filed reports of bullying and intimidation by British Gas management using a reporting helpline launched by GMB only on Friday.

Centrica PLC recorded a group-wide operating profit of £901m in 2019, after exceptional deductions, according to company accounts.

And Centrica declared an adjusted operating profit of £229 million for its domestic heating business in the UK for the six months to 30 June 2020 – up 27 per cent on the same period in the previous year.

Meanwhile British Gas has been deluged by customers and members of the public asking questions about the company’s behaviour.

Justin Bowden, GMB National Secretary, said:

“It’s scarcely credibly that a senior British Gas boss is celebrating a global pandemic because it’s taking the spotlight off his company’s awful behaviour.

“He clearly thinks this is a good day to bury bad news.

“Instead of relying on a worldwide disaster to keep British Gas out of the headlines, why doesn’t he try showing his loyal, hard-working staff some respect?”

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