Page last updated at 11:43 GMT, Monday, 9 February 2009

Strike warning by water workers

Thames Water said the recession was leading to falling revenue

Workers from the country's biggest water authority have threatened to stage industrial action over proposed job cuts.

Thames Water last week announced plans to cut 300 jobs due to the recession.

Managers said most of the cuts would be in support services in Reading and Swindon and that customers would see no reduction in services.

The executive of the GMB union will consider a strike ballot among members at Thames Water next week.

Falling revenue

The union questioned the economic case for job cuts.

The GMB's Mick Rix said: "Thames Water has given the excuse of the recession to cut 300 jobs. GMB members are asking - where is the recession in the water industry?

"The water service is a natural monopoly public utility that should be run for the benefit of its consumers.

"However, since the 1980s water has been run as a private monopoly and has been used as a cash cow for the benefit of its owners - at the expense of its customers and its staff."

Thames Water supplies 13.6 million customers in the London and the Thames Valley area.

The company said the recession was reducing its revenue - partly because some customers were unable to pay bills.

The job cuts will save the company, which employs 5,000 staff, about 7m.

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