Ipswich: Anxious wait as UK Power Networks announce job cuts

Workers at an Ipswich power company face an anxious wait today to discover how many of them will lose their jobs.

UK Power Networks, which has a base in Fore Hamlet, confirmed it will be shedding jobs in order to cut costs and improve efficiency.

Workers in the firm’s support and back office functions will face the worst of the cull, but staff who work directly on the electricity network will not be affected by the proposals.

It is not yet known how many jobs will be lost at the Ipswich centre, but it is understood the firm will shed 600 jobs nationally in the next two years. It will also close some offices completely.

The Ipswich office has back office functions, which include a call centre.

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The announcement comes just days after it emerged that 150 jobs at Ipswich Hospital could be cut as bosses try to balance their books. This is on top of the loss of 100 posts which had already been announced for this year.

A spokesman for UK Power Networks said: “UK Power Networks can confirm that it is currently in the process of consultation with its recognised trade unions and staff representatives on proposals to improve its operational efficiency and reduce costs.

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“Whilst the company is fully committed to a meaningful consultation and communication process the proposals being discussed are likely to result in voluntary redundancies in the support and indirect functions within the business – staff who work directly on the electricity network will not be impacted by this exercise.

“The initial focus has been to reduce costs by concentrating on non-employee related activities but, in the event that job losses are necessary, the company’s intention is to achieve these, wherever possible, via a voluntary redundancy programme, which will include our existing and very favourable redundancy terms.”

Officials at Unison have labelled the plans a devastating blow and believe that the proposals being put forward by UK Power Networks will see 400 jobs lost this year alone.

The union estimates a further 200 will go over the following two years.

National officer Mike Jeram said: “This will be a devastating blow to a loyal workforce at a time of huge economic uncertainty.

“Unison is pressing the company to avoid compulsory redundancies.”

What do you think of the job cuts? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or you can send an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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