MORE than 1,200 call centre workers were told their jobs were safe yesterday – but half workforce will have to move from their current base in Peterlee.
The announcement came as npower revealed a proposed “restructure of its customer service activities” in order to cut back operations in the UK and transferring some jobs to India.
Around 1,250 employees at the company’s three offices in Peterlee were relieved to discover their jobs are safe.
But around 630 of those workers will have to move to the firm’s North-East headquarters at Rainton Bridge Industrial Estate, in Sunderland.
The Mail understands those workers who will be transferred were summoned to a meeting yesterday morning and told they have 60 days to decide whether they are happy to move to another office or to take voluntary redundancy.
One worker, who did not want to be named, told the Mail: “I’m just really quite confused and concerned by it all, and everyone else who I have spoken to shares that feeling.
“Only two weeks ago we were told there will be no redundancies.
“Now all at once there are voluntary redundancies and we have 60 days to make a decision on what we want to do, which I don’t think is very long at all.
“The main thing is we aren’t losing our jobs.
“But how do we know things aren’t going to change again in the next few weeks?”
As part of npower’s restructure, some of the firm’s work will be out-sourced to Capita while administration roles will be transferred to India using Tata Consultancy Services.
Around 110 employees at the Peterlee offices, based at Tyne House, Tees House and Wear House, will be transferred to Capita.
The firm says the 500 workers at the Tyne House office will be unaffected by the changes.
But Tees House will close and it is proposed that the ownership of Wear House will transfer to Capita.
Gareth Pickles, npower’s customer service director, told the Mail the firm’s commitment to the North-East remains very strong, but admitted the announcement means a lot of change.
He said: “As a business, we’re operating in extremely tough times and we’ve had to look at what’s right for the long-term future of the company.
“We also have to keep our costs as low as possible when our customers are seeing bills going up due to a range of external factors.”
In total npower employs around 3,950 people across the North-East.
Under the proposals around 430 will be made redundant, while around 540 will continue their work, but will be employed by Capita.