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British labor unions upset over energy

Lighting a gas stove

TEXT OF STORY

Renita Jablonski: British labor unions are threatening to strike over the escalating cost of energy. The latest estimates suggest household energy bills in Britain will soar this winter. From London, Stephen Beard reports.


Stephen Beard: Britain's energy companies are preparing consumers for the worst. They say the cost of heating, lighting and cooking in a British home will jump by up to 40 percent this winter.

The rising price of oil is to blame. Coming on top of the sharply increasing cost of food, the news has angered some of Britain's labor unions.

Dave Prentis represents more than a million public sector workers. He's ignoring government calls for pay restraint. He's demanding a big raise for his members, or else:

Dave Prentis: The cost of living, the basic essentials of life, shooting up in the way that they have done is going to cause massive disruption among public service workers. And I can actually see it leading to industrial action.

Charities representing the elderly are also concerned. Already, more than 10,000 old people are thought to die of hypothermia in Britain every winter, because they can't afford to heat their homes.

In London, this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.

About the author

Stephen Beard is the European bureau chief and provides daily coverage of Europe’s business and economic developments for the entire Marketplace portfolio.

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