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Union seeks talks over TXU jobs blow

PUBLISHED: 05:06 22 January 2003 | UPDATED: 16:12 24 February 2010

A UNION official has warned the region to brace itself for more job losses at TXU following the announcement that hundreds of jobs were to be axed in Ipswich.

A UNION official has warned the region to brace itself for more job losses at TXU following the announcement that hundreds of jobs were to be axed in Ipswich.

Greg Grant, regional secretary for Unison's eastern region, described the long-term future of staff working for new TXU owners Powergen in the town as “serious”.

He was speaking days after the company announced it was cutting the number of workers in its retail division in Ipswich from 936 to 250.

The union, which represents most of the workforce at the company, is seeking urgent talks with Powergen bosses in a bid to save jobs.

Mr Grant said: “Powergen is one of the biggest employers in the region. Potentially, the consequences on the economy could be very serious for the region and obviously for Suffolk.

“They have operations in other parts of the country. It may well mean the worst case scenario would be all the Powergen jobs in Ipswich could be removed.

“They already have a large presence in other parts of the UK and the long-term might look very serious.

“We would imagine that's what Ipswich needs to be concerned about.”

Job cuts had been expected following Powergen's acquisition in October of the UK assets of TXU Europe, including the TXU Energi retail business based in Ipswich.

But the level of the proposed redundancies announced - almost three-quarters of the existing 936-strong workforce - came as a shock.

Mr Grant said the union would do everything possible to save jobs and discover the exact reasons behind Powergen's decision.

“For the people who work for the company, this has been a huge body blow and Ipswich and the region as a whole,” he said.

“I would be pretty angry given the situation of how much profit the company makes.”

Nick Horler, Powergen's retail managing director, defended his company's decision.

He said: “It's a difficult process to go through, but there are good reasons why we have taken it and we have explained it to people.”

Mr Horler said the jobs would be shed gradually over the course of the year to leave 250 in place in Ipswich by the end of 2003.

The retained staff will be based either at the company's Wherstead Park site or the state-of-the-art Russell Road building - once earmarked at TXU HQ, but now set to be occupied by Suffolk County Council.

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