TXU staff take to streets to save custom

EMPLOYEES of troubled energy company TXU will be taking to the streets this weekend in a bid to prevent customers being poached by other power providers.

By Jessica Nicholls

EMPLOYEES of troubled energy company TXU will be taking to the streets this weekend in a bid to prevent customers being poached by other power providers.

Staff at the Ipswich based power giant will be telling customers that TXU has not gone bust - despite claims by rival companies to the contrary.

The news comes the day after a senior executive who was sacked from the firm for forwarding 'racist and sexist emails' defended himself at a tribunal.

Senior executive Bob Clarke, 42, who earned £98,000 a year, claimed he did not feel that the email that denigrated Arab women was inappropriate.

The email was forwarded to all six of his regional sales managers across Britain, but one recipient, David Lamb complained to his personnel boss that that he felt uncomfortable about it.

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It was ruled that the email was racist and sexist and broke strict company rules, which ban staff from sending and receiving offensive e-mails.

But Clarke, a father of five from Bristol, told a disciplinary hearing that he did not see anything wrong with the e-mail and refused to apologise, the tribunal at Bury St. Edmunds heard yesterday.

He is claiming unfair dismissal on the grounds that the firm had never told him that employees faced disciplinary action for sending material of a 'sexual, pornographic, racist or any other offensive nature.'

However computer records showed that just six minutes before he sent the email he received an internal email reminding staff of company policy – Clarke claims he never read it and told the hearing that although some people might find the message racist or sexist, he himself did not.

He said: "I am far from being racist. I am not a politician. Some Arabs might hate us and others might not. I don't know any Arabs in fairness.

"I enjoy humour. I have known people of an ethnic background who have told jokes about themselves and Irish people who have told jokes about themselves. I find any kind of joke funny."

The tribunal continues in January.

TXU has hit the headlines after bombshell news that their American partners were cutting a $700 million dollar lifeline.

Future for the 1,000 Ipswich employees is uncertain and it is still not clear how many jobs will be axed.

But a company spokesman said today that despite the uncertainty and nervousness, staff are rallying to do everything they can to help.

And that will involve taking to the streets across the county armed with press advertisements stating business as usual and letting people know that measures are in place to keep gas and electricity flowing to peoples homes.

Shares in the company are now just over a quarter of their value on October 1, plummeting from $40 to $10.98, although they have risen ten cents since yesterday.

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