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JETSETTING PM Boris Johnson has been told to “get a grip” on the energy crisis and protect workers from paying the price for the mess with their jobs.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham called on the PM, who is on holiday with wife Carrie and son Wilfred in Marbella in southern Spain, to “bang heads together” to avert job or wage losses as a result of the energy costs crisis.
She also urged industry chiefs and government ministers to work with unions to ward off attacks on jobs as a wave of instability sweeps through Britain's manufacturing and energy industry.
“The country is now in the ridiculous position of contemplating factory shutdowns across viable manufacturing and businesses because we now have unsustainable energy costs to add into the storm caused by supply chain shortages,” Ms Graham said.
“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. This is not on.
“I call upon the Prime Minister to get and grip on this crisis and bang heads together.”
Businesses warned they may have to reduce working hours to stay afloat this winter, while industry body Energy UK warned more suppliers will collapse as wholesale prices spiral.
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng insisted he is working closely with Chancellor Rishi Sunak to help industry — but a Treasury source flatly denied any talks have taken place.
“The standoff between ministers and industry is irresponsible and threatens jobs and our recovery,” Ms Graham said.
“It is clear that UK industry’s short-termism is coming home to roost with problems across manufacturing and energy.
“These are sectors that provide 800,000 direct, skilled jobs and hundreds of thousands more in related industries.
“They should be at the heart of powering our economic recovery, not talking about turning the lights out.
“Our energy sector is in crisis. Suppliers are going bust and homeowners are facing massive price hikes.
“We are at a crossroads now and the only responsible way to respond to the problems before us is collectively.”
Labour shadow chief secretary to the Treasury Bridget Phillipson said: “In the teeth of a crisis of its own making, the government has put its out of office on.
“The Prime Minister has gone on holiday, no-one knows where the Chancellor is, and this morning we understand the Business Secretary has entered the realms of fantasy.
“The two key government departments responsible for the current cost of living crisis have spent this morning infighting about whether they were in talks with each other. What a farce.”
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