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Union urges UK jobs protection in Pfizer, Astra deal

The GMB union said that the takeover approach of AstraZeneca by US drugs giant Pfizer has created added insecurity for workers and that any bid should be referred to competition authorities.

The GMB has called for the Government to safeguard business from going abroad Credit: Press Association Images/Stefan Rousseau

It called for a "bankable commitment that manufacturing and R&D [research and development] will continue here" amid fears these could be exported to the Far East.

GMB national officer Allan Black said the Government had a duty to protect against a "hostile approach" which would see business going abroad, adding that such a move would also weigh on the balance of payments deficit.


GMB union: Energy inquiry 'bad for jobs in the UK'

A major competition inquiry into the 'Big Six' energy firms will be "bad for jobs in the UK, bad for investment and it will do nothing for consumers apart from maybe delay the relentless rise in energy bills until after an election", a union has warned.

The warning from GMB comes after SSE announced yesterday it will cut 500 jobs as part of a cost-cutting programme.

This is designed to kick the issue down the road until after the next election.

The country is in the midst of an energy crisis. Energy bills are going to keep going up. Households will struggle to pay their bills and British industry is losing competitiveness.

The market is being propped up by huge subsidies. Electricity wholesale prices across Europe are dropping. Desperately needed investment has been slashed.

– Gary Smith, GMB national secretary for energy

Union claims Environment Agency jobs still set to go

Plans to axe jobs at the Environment Agency will be raised at fresh talks this week despite assurances from the Prime Minister that no jobs would be cut during the current flooding crisis, a trade union claims.

The GMB said a meeting has been arranged for Thursday at which they believe a timetable will be discussed for pressing ahead with up to 1,700 redundancies.

Flooding near Laleham in Surrey. Credit: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

Last week the Environment Agency (EA) announced that any job cuts would be put on hold as it dealt with the effects of widespread flooding, a position reinforced by David Cameron as he visited areas affected by the bad weather.

The GMB said it was clear the agency would press on with redundancies after the floods have receded, calling the plan "ludicrous".

PM will cut short conference appearance to focus on floods

David Cameron will cut short his attendance at an international conference tomorrow to focus on dealing with the flooding.

David Cameron attending an emergency meeting on the weather today. Credit: Neil Hall/PA Wire

The Prime Minister had been due to speak at the London Conference on the Illegal Wildlife Trade, alongside the Prince of Wales and Duke of Cambridge.

But a Downing Street spokeswoman said: "The Prime Minister will briefly dip in to meet with international leaders attending the event but his attendance will be cut short."

The new Cabinet committee on flood recovery will meet tomorrow, replacing a scheduled meeting of the full Cabinet.

'Never an excuse for abuse' after Wraysbury claims

A Department for Communities and Local Government spokeswoman said "there is never an excuse for verbal abuse" after reports that Environment Agency staff were criticised by people in Wraysbury.

The flooding will be extremely stressful for all involved, but there is never an excuse for verbal abuse.

Ministers have publicly praised the hard work of the on-the-ground Environment Agency staff in challenging times.

– A Department for Communities and Local Government spokeswoman


EA denies pulling out staff from Wraysbury after 'abuse'

The Environment Agency (EA) has denied that it is pulling staff out of flood-hit Wraysbury after reports they suffered abuse from members of the community.

Residents pull a boat through flooding in Wraysbury, Berkshire, yesterday. Credit: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

David Murphy, an EA flood risk manager, was asked by ITV News' Lewis Vaughan Jones whether the agency was removing staff from the area and he replied: "Not at all, we are here."

When asked about the rumours that staff had been abused by members of the community, Mr Murphy replied: "If that has happened, it was an isolated incident...if it happened."

He added: "We are working with the community and with the emergency services to provide advice and help."

Union blames Pickles for 'hostility' suffered by staff

The hostility from residents in flood-hit Wraysbury is a direct result of the irresponsible attack by Eric Pickles and others on the Environment Agency, the GMB union have claimed.

Justin Bowden, GMB National Officer for the Environment Agency (EA) said:

This report of hostility from the residents on the Thames is a direct result of the irresponsible attack by Eric Pickles and others on the EA.

His incitement has led to the very people on the frontline who are actually helping to alleviate the situation bearing the brunt of people's frustrations.

For more than seven weeks since Christmas the Environment Agency's staff have been run ragged helping and supporting the victims of flooding.

GMB members have been working double and triple shifts around the clock to protect and assist.

It is noted by these staffs that the Prime Minister has repeatedly refused to say the proposed cut of another 1,700 jobs at the EA will be reversed.

Ms Bowden said the Government must immediately reverse the "ludicrous cut" of 1,700 EA jobs and review funding to ensure the budget could cope with flooding and drought.

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