AROUND 250 jobs could be lost with the closure of a call centre in the North-East.

Staff employed by Capita in Wear House, at Peterlee, who have been working for npower, have been told their roles are at risk of redundancy.

It is part of a major restructuring plan during the takeover of the energy company by the German firm E.ON.

Laura Gatiss, regional organiser with the GMB union, said: “Although, this announcement has been long anticipated by employees of Capita working on the NPower contract, it has still come as a devastating blow for employees who have remained committed and flexible throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Rest assured, GMB will fight tooth and nail to minimise job losses and are working closely with Capita.

“Redeployment into suitable alternative roles within Capita is paramount.

“Any further mass job losses into the region after the closure of Npower will have a devastating impact on the local community and with UK unemployment predicted to climb higher than current forecasts as the pandemic continues, we can’t allow that to happen.”

The news follows the loss of around 2,000 npower jobs at Rainton Bridge, near Sunderland, announced in November.

Unison has confirmed that formal consultation got underway on Friday.

Regional Organiser Conor McArdle said: “Consultation formally started today and UNISON will be working closely with Capita and staff throughout this period. Clearly it’s a worrying time for all and UNISON will be ensuring that suitable alternative job opportunities are maximised to secure employment for staff at risk.”

A Capita spokesperson said: “As part of the closure process of npower’s residential and small business sector, we have been working with npower to understand and review the service they will require from us.

“As the npower customer base reduces in line with their E.ON customer migration plan, the demand for front-line customers service will also gradually reduce.

“As a result of these changes, the decision has been made to begin a formal consultation process for our customer service colleagues who support npower customers in our Peterlee customer service centre.

“We are supporting and working closely with those affected by this difficult decision and will be seeking redeployment opportunities wherever possible.”