HOPES are high that hundreds of Wearside call centre jobs could be saved.
Energy giant npower announced in November that it was shipping more than 400 posts from its Rainton Bridge site overseas, as part of a company-wide restructuring.
More than 1,400 jobs could be cut nationwide, but the firm says it hopes to keep compulsory cuts at Rainton to a minimum.
About 500 staff from the npower’s centre in Thornaby were asked to relocate to Rainton Bridge but all but 100 of them turned down the chance - leaving 400 posts available on Wearside.
The firm issued a statement yesterday, outlining the final outcome of three months of staff consultation: “Our North East headquarters at Rainton Bridge Business Park will continue to be npower’s flagship contact centre and around 2,200 people will be based here moving forward.”
“It was previously envisaged around 430 back office roles here would be made redundant but it is now hoped there will be minimal compulsory redundancies as numbers of people opting for voluntary redundancy at Thornaby have been higher than anticipated.
“All employees based in Thornaby were offered roles in Rainton, however the majority of staff have opted for voluntary redundancy.
“Around 100 employees will remain with the company and move to Rainton, receiving transport support for the next three years.”
Houghton and Sunderland South MP Bridget Phillipson, whose constituency covers the centre, welcomed the news but said it was still important to look after any staff whose job was lost.
“I am very relieved that so many of the workers at the Rainton Bridge site will not now be made redundant,” she said.
“I know this has been a very worrying time for them and whilst the announcement of fewer redundancies is certainly welcome, we should also ensure that the necessary support mechanisms are in place for those whose jobs will not be saved.”