Unions have begun talks with energy utility E.On as it looks to restructure following the acquisition of npower.
These ‘restructuring’ talks could result in job losses warned the Unite union, with 9,400 people currently employed by the company. The move follows the acquisition of challenger npower, a move that includes customers being transferred to a new online platform powered by Octopus’ tech arm Kraken Technologies.
As first npower and then E.On customers move to the E.On Next platform, less staff will be needed for residential and small and medium-size enterprise customers in particular, leading to job losses. These were first suggested in November 2019, with unions suggesting at the time that up to 4,500 jobs are going to be cut as part of the major restructuring.
These are expected to take place over the next two years, as E.On looks to transform its UK business to best serve its customers, it said.
An E.On spokesperson said: “Based on our experience so far in relation to the efficiency improvements the platform brings with it, our assumptions are that our Residential and SME operation will ultimately be smaller in the future. This may be around two-thirds of its current size, which incorporates approximately 3,400 roles.
“It’s not possible at this stage to say what impact this will have on the total number of people employed by E.On in the UK. No individual redundancies have been announced as we are embarking on a two-year transition with potential for growth in other areas of our business.
“As our track record shows, we have promised to help, support and work with people to make sure they’re in the best position to take a new opportunity as we change or support them if they want to leave on a voluntary basis if/when that times comes. As always we’ll work with not just our colleagues but trade unions too.”
This could include areas such as solar, batteries, electric vehicles, heat pumps and other technology areas.
Unite officer with responsibility for E.On retail Katie Morris confirmed that talks on the restructuring plans had begun, with the process accelerated by the impact of COVID-19 on E.On’s business model.
“We expect an announcement next month on possible job losses. Unite’s position is that any job losses in the future should be voluntary and not of a compulsory nature.
“Unite remains committed to working in a constructive manner with the E.On management during this difficult time for the energy sector specifically and the country generally.
“However, we won’t tolerate any moves that use the pandemic as an excuse to erode pay and employment conditions of our members – such moves would be strongly resisted.”
Morris also added that Unite would comment more fully when the talked has concluded.