The news that energy giant E.ON is to axe about 700 jobs over the next two years is ‘more grim news’ for the UK economy already battered by Covid-19, Unite said on Thursday (November 19).
Unite has been involved in talks with the management in recent months in the aftermath of E.ON acquiring Npower last year and the impact of Covid-19 on the business.
Unite understands that 675 retail jobs will be lost as a result of the introduction of a new customer service IT platform. An additional 20 roles are under threat with the merger of the industrial and commercial businesses.
Engineers and technicians ‘in the field’ carrying out maintenance and visiting consumers’ homes are less likely to be affected by the job losses.
Unite regional officer Matt Jones said, “This is devastating news for E.ON workers and their families in the run-up to Christmas, but was not unexpected given that the recent talks have taken place against a background of the harmonisation of the services offered by E.ON since it acquired Npower.
“The restructuring process has also been accelerated by the impact of Covid-19 on its business model. The nearly 700 jobs losses will take place over the next two years,” he added.
“Unite remains committed to working in a constructive manner with the E.ON management during this difficult time for the energy sector specifically and the country generally, as well as giving maximum support to our members,” Jones went on to say.
“During the consultation period, we will be examining the business case for the job losses and exploring options, such as enhanced voluntary redundancy packages, redeployment and early retirement, to mitigate the impact on the livelihoods and jobs of our members. We will be strongly opposing compulsory redundancies.
“However, we won’t tolerate any moves that use the pandemic as an excuse to erode pay and employment conditions of our members – such moves will be strongly resisted.”
Unite has thousands of members working for E.ON in retail and call centres, as well as engineers and technicians ‘in the field’ carrying out maintenance and visiting consumers’ homes.
By Shaun Noble