Jobs blow for Peterlee npower call centre workers

HAPPIER TIMES: Pictured at the opening of the npower building at Rainton Bridge, which has escaped closure, are Sunderland City Council leader, Coun Paul Watson (centre) with Julie Jaglowski, Npower director of residential customer services, and Rob Saddle, head of property and workplace solutions.

HAPPIER TIMES: Pictured at the opening of the npower building at Rainton Bridge, which has escaped closure, are Sunderland City Council leader, Coun Paul Watson (centre) with Julie Jaglowski, Npower director of residential customer services, and Rob Saddle, head of property and workplace solutions.

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HUNDREDS of call centre workers are set to find out today if their jobs are to be axed after an energy firm announced closure plans.

Npower is to shut two of its three Peterlee offices as part of a move to shift 1,400 jobs to India, which will also see centres close in Thornaby, on Teesside, and in Stoke.

A further 570 jobs will be transferred to another UK-based company early next year.

The firm’s Rainton Bridge centre, which employs more than 2,000 people, is not believed to be affected.

Unions are expecting a clearer picture of how many jobs will be lost when they meet with senior management after a company briefing with staff this morning.

GMB Northern Region senior organiser Colin Smith said the firm was to close its Tyne House and Tees House offices in Peterlee. Wear House will remain open.

“Our lay representatives and members have been working hard for years with npower to make the North-East sites return consistent profitability,” said Mr Smith.

“It is an absolute scandal that a company like npower can operate as a cartel player in a captive market, while jobs are placed offshore, we import energy and the npower CEO cocks a snoop at the regulators and taxpayer by taking his annual bonus.

“The GMB will vigorously campaign against the offshoring of jobs to India because it has absolutely nothing to do with customer service and everything to do with cost.

“At this time of the year, when the Christmas lights are being turned on for most people, npower workers, their families and communities have no yuletide greetings, only fear from a company only interested in their fat-cat salaries and what they can get out of consumers who are paying ever higher energy prices so corporate bureaucrats can get fatter as their reward for failure.”

Npower released a statement saying it would not confirm or deny the closure plans until it had briefed staff.

“As we announced a couple of months ago, npower has been undertaking a major review of sites, operations and people across the UK,” it said.

“We have been doing this to improve our customer service and keep our costs down, at a time of external pressures on customers’ bills.

“As we have always said, we will tell our people first and then inform the media.”