December 15th: Commenting on the Government’s surprise decision to sell the retail arm of Bord Gais Energy to Centrica, trade union Unite – a member of the Bord Gais Group of Unions – has said that the focus must be on ensuring that workers’ terms and conditions are protected in the long term. Speaking today (Sunday 15 December), Unite official Ed Thompson said:
“Unite remains opposed to the privatisation of our state assets. There is little evidence that companies such as Bord Gais Energy will perform better or offer a better service in the private sector. The government will reap a once-off windfall while sacrificing a long-term revenue stream. In this context, the Government must be held to its commitment to invest over 50 per cent of the proceeds in job creation.
“The focus now must be on ensuring that workers’ terms and conditions are protected in the long term. As stated by the Group of Unions on Friday, union representative have been assured that the workers’ terms and conditions of employment are protected under the 2003 Transfer of Undertakings Protection of Employees Act, and there have also been assurances regarding the creation of a Defined Benefit Pension Scheme for the workers.
“Concrete expression must be given to these assurances as soon as possible. In this context, Unite officials will be working very closely with our colleagues in the UK, where Unite the Union represents workers in Centrica”, Mr Thompson concluded.