OPINION: Let firms go at full power

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It is always good when one of our own receives praise so it is heartening to see Sheffield Forgemasters being held up as a model employer today.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady, the leader of the trade union movement in Britain, has hailed Forgemasters as “a model of employment and apprenticeships.”

So it must be immensely frustrating for workers and management alike to have to do their jobs – at times – with their hands tied behind their backs.

We reported yesterday that steelworkers at Forgemasters are halting production at least once a week to avoid ‘fines’ of up to £1.5m for electricity use.

Staff are under strict orders to down tools and “switch off everything except safety lights” for half-an-hour on one day in four during winter.

Ignoring a ‘triad’ could cost the company up to £500,000 each time – on top of its existing £11m overall annual energy bill.

While bearing in mind that firms must be efficient with their energy consumption it seems counter-productive to hamper Forgemasters and others in our area when they’re doing their best to be competitive against rivals across the world.

We have the talent, so please let them compete on a level playing field.