Npower job cuts must be fought!

Andy Bentley, Stoke-on-Trent

Npower have now announced that its call centre in Fenton, Stoke-on-Trent, will close next June as part of a total of 1,400 workers being thrown on the scrap heap nationally.

The plan is to outsource the 550 Stoke-on-Trent jobs to India under the ‘management’ of Tata Consultancy Services.

Npower say it is being done: “to improve our customer services and keep our costs down at a time of external pressure on customer’s bills”

Does anyone believe this? Npower are so concerned about bills that they are increasing prices by 10.4% this month!

Npower are trying to turn customers against their workers by saying that sacking 1,400 will reduce bills for customers. But the top employees and shareholders will pocket any ‘savings’, not hard pressed customers.

One worker who has been at the Fenton site for over ten years told us: “I’m disgusted that our union Unison seem to be just accepting the redundancy package. They should be fighting to save our jobs and keep the Fenton site open”.

Npower have now announced a 60-day ‘consultation’ period. Unison should make sure that this includes building a campaign to defend all these jobs.

They should link up with other Npower workplaces faced with job losses and closure in Oldbury, West Midlands and elsewhere.

In 2012 Npower posted a 25% increase in profits to a bumper £390 million just four months after increasing prices for customers by 9% and followed that with a further 8% increase in profits in the first nine months of this year.

As part of the ‘consultation’ Unison should demand that Npower’s books are opened up to public scrutiny so we can see exactly where these profits are going.

Energy industry unions should draw the necessary conclusions from Npower’s attempt to sack more workers while still increasing prices for customers.

Unison and other unions involved should fight this latest round of job cuts and launch a campaign for the immediate renationalisation of the major energy companies to be run in the interest of the majority. Only in this way could jobs be saved and customer prices be kept down now and in the future.

There would be no need to compensate the fat cat owners, although small shareholders would be compensated in cases of proven need.