Unite blasts OVO energy bosses

With one in four OVO jobs at stake, Unite demands bosses ‘open the books’

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With one in four jobs at stake, Unite demands company bosses must ‘open the books’ before any negotiations can take place.

Union chiefs say OVO bosses have precipitated the crisis by “blundering and plundering” the company in recent years.

Today (January 13) the energy company OVO, created in 2007, when the energy market in the UK was diversified, announced its plan to make between 1700 to 2000 staff redundant. The emergency plan to deal with OVO’s current crisis was announced to OVO staff this morning.

Early in 2020, OVO took over the retail base of energy giant SSE. That transformed OVO’s annual turnover by £3 billion, from £1.45 billion to £4.46 billion. Unite warned, at the time, that the move was a huge risk which could jeopardise OVO’s future.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “We will do everything in our power to defend our members’ jobs. All and every option will be on the table. As a first step the company must now open the books to union experts. We will not sit by and watch our members being made to pay the price of the pandemic.”

In the last five years Unite estimates that the top directors of OVO took £4.6 million out of the company in salaries and benefits. Not named in the accounts, but the best paid director, likely to be the current CEO Stephen Fitzpatrick, earned almost half that figure.

Unite national officer for energy, Simon Coop, said, “We warned the directors about blundering into the SSE takeover. In recent years the same directors have plundered the accounts for amounts estimated to be touching £6 million. So, the company must be subject to severe scrutiny before the union decides on our next moves, but if they move to compulsory redundancies they will be fully opposed by the union.”

By Ryan Fletcher

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