Germany’s union head warns cutting off Russian gas could topple major industries

The head of the German Federation Trade Unions (DGB) warned Sunday that major industries in the country were at risk of collapsing if Russian natural gas were to be cut off.

“Because of the gas bottlenecks, entire industries are in danger of permanently collapsing: aluminum, glass, the chemical industry,” Yasmin Fahimi told newspaper Bild am Sonntag in an interview. “Such a collapse would have massive consequences for the entire economy and jobs in Germany.”

Yasmin Fahimi

FILE: Yasmin Fahimi, head of the German Federation of Labor (DGB), speaks to the media prior to the first meeting of the “Transformation Alliance” at the Chancellery on June 14, 2022 in Berlin, Germany. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images/Getty Images)

Fahimi’s dire warning came a day ahead of an expected round of crisis talks between Fahimi and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in late February has stoked an energy crisis on the continent which is heavily reliant upon Russian imports.

Fahimi called for a price cap on energy for households. She said households and companies will be further burdened by the rising costs of CO2 emissions, creating a crisis that could lead to social and labor unrest.

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Meanwhile, the head of Germany’s regulatory agency for energy called on residents Saturday to save energy and to prepare for winter, when use increases, fearing Russia might cut off natural gas supplies.

Federal Network Agency President Klaus Mueller urged house and apartment owners to have their gas boilers and radiators checked and adjusted to maximize their efficiency.

“Maintenance can reduce gas consumption by 10% to 15%,” he told Funke Mediengruppe, a German newspaper and magazine publisher.

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Mueller said residents and property owners need to use the 12 weeks before cold weather sets in to get ready. He said families should start talking now about “whether every room needs to be set at its usual temperature in the winter – or whether some rooms can be a little cooler.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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