For details on how to contact our editorial and commercial departments, click here
Npower, in Houghton-le-Spring, Peterlee and Thornaby, warns of potential job losses and office closures
THOUSANDS of North-East workers face uncertainty after an energy firm refused to rule out axing posts.
Npower, which employs more than 3,000 across the region, is carrying out a five-year cost cutting programme to slash management roles and close 16 UK offices.
Its largest UK call centre employs about 2,000 workers in Houghton-le-Spring, County Durham, and the company also has a 570-strong team of customer service advisors at Thornaby, near Stockton, with about 500 complaints and support staff in Peterlee, County Durham.
Workers found out about the plans on a staff website, with the announcement coming as the company confirmed about 20 IT workers from Houghton-le-Spring had taken redundancy.
Bosses say they will try to avoid compulsory redundancies in any cuts, but said it had started reducing senior staff numbers, including its management teams, which The Northern Echo understands have up to seven layers of higher earners.
Paul Massara, Npower chief executive, said the company had to make tough decisions.
He said: “We need to make some major changes and, although some will be difficult, it is the right thing for our customers and the business.
“It is vital all the costs making up energy bills are kept as low as possible and we are determined to help customers by keeping ours costs as low as we can.
“It will help us serve customers better and reduce costs.
“Where people are affected, we will consult with them first and avoid compulsory redundancies where possible.”
The announcement came after the firm, owned by German utility company RWE, revealed its half-year results showing operating profits fell three per cent to £176m and its domestic supply division dropped 12 per cent on last year's figures.
It said the fall was mainly due to the cost of delivering Government energy efficiency schemes and rises in the cost of new simplified tariffs for domestic customers.
Earlier this year, Npower, which controls about 13 per cent of the market, with 3.2m electricity customers and 2.3m gas customers, was criticised after admitting it had not paid corporation tax in the UK for three years.
The company said it had instead invested £5bn in new power stations and wind technology.
Comments are closed on this article.