One of the UK's biggest energy suppliers has announced it will be closing offices in order to outsource work to India.
The move by Npower will see 1,460 of its UK staff lose their jobs as it closes offices in Stoke on Trent and one of its offices in Oldbury, with back-office customer service functions shifting to India over the next eight months.
In addition to those job loses, there will be further redundancies at its Rainton Bridge office in Sunderland and in Leeds, with another 540 jobs set to be moved over to the British firm Capita.
Despite the huge job cuts however, npower chief executive, Paul Massara, defended the move, suggesting while it would be difficult for some of its employees, it was necessary to do it in order to improve customer service levels to a level its customers deserve.
He said: "We would have the flexibility to keep call waiting times down during busy periods, and continue to keep costs down so we can keep bills down. All calls would still be answered in the UK."
The 'Big Six' energy supplier raised its prices this month on Dec 1 by an average of 10.4%, with a gas price increase of 11.1% with an electricity bill increase of 9.3%. These increases were the highest price rise in energy prices this year energy firm. Its customers can expect to see an average £137 increase in dual-fuel bills, taking them up to £1,459.
Unison national officer, Matthew Lay, slammed the move, suggesting npower had consistently let its customers and staff down due to a lack of investment in not only its workforce, but the technology and customer service techniques required to satisfy customers requirements.
He added: "At a time when unemployment is high, what commitment does it show to the UK by shipping these much-needed jobs abroad? And what does this say about their commitment to staff when npower have kept them on tenterhooks, waiting for the axe to fall, for weeks?"
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