British Gas boss credits Covid and Capitol riots for keeping strike out of the news

British Gas boss Matthew Bateman has said a worker’s five day strike is getting “relatively low coverage” in the press thanks to Covid-19 and US Capitol riots, footage leaked by GMB has shown.

Speaking on a closed conference call the managing director said strikes over the company’s so-called ‘fire and rehire’ plans were not getting the publicity they might in normal times as other news items have “taken the headline space”.

He has been accused of laughing at workers and accused of ‘sounding delighted’ that the strikes didn’t get more attention after the clip was shared.

One worker told LeedsLive: “Bateman is a fatcat laughing at workers who had draconian new contracts forced on them or risked being sacked.

“He sounds delighted that our struggle to maintain a decent standard of living isn’t getting the media coverage it might have done if tens of thousands of people weren’t dying of Covid-19.

“It’s crass, offensive and he should apologise.”

Meet Matthew Bateman, British Gas Boss.

Currently lying low. Hoping it’s a good day to bury bad news. Looking for that net net win.

Picking on staff didn’t work. He’s seen the customers backlash. He’s net net losing the argument. #StopTheBritishGasFire pic.twitter.com/MLAgGmyC4I

— GMB Union (@GMB_union) January 8, 2021

Responding to the video, Justin Bowden, GMB National Secretary, said: “He clearly thinks this is a good day to bury bad news.”

A spokeswoman for British Gas owners Centrica said Mr Bateman’s remarks were “taken out of context” and criticism of them was “utter nonsense”.

Related: Private members club brags of flying super-rich overseas for ‘luxury’ Covid vaccines

Since you are here

Since you are here, we wanted to ask for your help.

Journalism in Britain is under threat. The government is becoming increasingly authoritarian and our media is run by a handful of billionaires, most of whom reside overseas and all of them have strong political allegiances and financial motivations.

Our mission is to hold the powerful to account. It is vital that free media is allowed to exist to expose hypocrisy, corruption, wrongdoing and abuse of power. But we can’t do it without you.

If you can afford to contribute a small donation to the site it will help us to continue our work in the best interests of the public. We only ask you to donate what you can afford, with an option to cancel your subscription at any point.

To donate or subscribe to The London Economic, click here.

The TLE shop is also now open, with all profits going to supporting our work.

The shop can be found here.

You can also SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER .