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Energy giant axing 2,600 jobs is a ‘bitter blow’, says Unite

The decision by SSE Energy Services to axe 2,600 jobs, accelerated by the coronavirus emergency, is a ‘bitter blow’ for the workforce, Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest union, said today (Tuesday 19 May).

Unite, which has 1,300 members from meter services to contact centre staff across England, Scotland and Wales, called for urgent talks with the company which was taken over by OVO this year.

The union will be strongly pressing management as to why they are not continuing with the government’s job retention scheme (JRS) which runs until October.

Unite national officer for energy and utilities Peter McIntosh said: “This is devastating news for the loyal and dedicated workforce who have continued to provide emergency and essential services to customers throughout the Covid-19 crisis

“We will be pressing the company to explain why it is not continuing to take advantage of the government’s JRS which was specifically designed to deal with potential job losses caused by the coronavirus crisis.

“It was on the cards that, after this year’s integration of the two businesses, jobs could be lost with more customers going online and the expansion of digital services. Covid-19 has accelerated this development, but it is still no excuse not to proactively engage with the JRS.

“Unite will be working with our shop stewards to support members at this difficult time and actively explore further ways to reduce the number of proposed redundancies. It is a bitter blow.

“Unite will seek assurances from the company that the redundancies will be carried on a voluntary basis, as promised in today’s announcement.

“One piece of good news is that, following pressure from the trade unions, the company amended its original plans and halted the offshoring of any more contact centre jobs. This resulted in saving 700 UK jobs.”