Last week British Gas – the company that breaks into peoples’ homes to install pre-payment meters – held a party for all its’ Manchester call centre staff at Old Trafford Cricket Ground. Tables were laid for a three-course meal for 300 and the bar tab stood at at a whopping £5000. Bubbly flowed all night.
British Gas clearly have some unease over their tarnished reputation and the cash they’re spending on lavish parties, such as the ‘£20,000 two-day boozy “training” knees-up’ held in November or their Alton Towers £10,000 Christmas Away-Day for its’ cut-offs team, both covered in The Daily Mirror. The Manchester Christmas party by contrast was booked and held anonymously, booked only in the name of ‘Joe Breeze’.
Is Christmas going to be a breeze for the top brass of the company earning millions whilst the poorest customers shiver in their homes? You bet.
Where else is British Gas throwing its’ lavish parties, hiding behind smokescreen names to avoid justifiable public outrage at their grotesque profiteering?
As our anonymous source told us, the company was too afraid to use its’ real name for fear of exposure and negative publicity. ‘If this is how much they’re spending on call centre staff, imagine how much they’re splashing out on their executives? They’re taking the p**s’, they said. We take no issue with call centre and other low paid workers British Gas who are most probably subject to poor terms and conditions, the issue is systemic one.
It’s clear that British Gas and the other Big Six energy companies know that their profiteering is pushing thousands over the edge into debt, poverty and even death and that this is something to be ashamed of. Mega-profits and market monopoly might be something to celebrate for British Gas this year as they raised their prices by 9.2%. A 30% rise in winter deaths (7000 up to 31,000 from 24,000 last year) and people being forced to turn to food banks and payday lenders is not.
Our message to British Gas and the other companies is this: You can run but you can’t hide. Public opinion is squarely behind energy coming back under public ownership. Democratically controlled and community controlled sustainable energy is the future and one where fuel poverty, run-away climate change and corporate exploitation will be a thing of the past.
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