Npower to cut 1,400 UK jobs and outsource work to India

Archana Venkatraman

Npower, one of the ‘big six’ UK energy companies, is set to axe 1,400 jobs in the UK and outsource thousands of call centre jobs to India.

Npower to outsource call centre jobs to India
Image: Wikimedia COmmons (Flickr)

The UK job cuts are part of the company’s restructuring plan which involves transferring hundreds of employees to a third-party call centre in the UK for front-office operations and moving back-office call centre operations to India, according to reports.

The back office call centre jobs have been outsourced by Npower to TCS (Tata Consultancy Services).

The move is likely to affect Npower’s Midlands, Yorkshire and Durham employees the most. It currently employs hundreds of workers at call centres in Peterlee and Thornaby and has nearly 10,000 UK employees working for the company.

The UK job cuts and India off-shore plans come just a day after Npower’s German owner RWE cancelled the £4bn wind farm project planned in the north Devon coast. It blamed “technological challenges” and “market conditions” for the cancellation of the project. RWE also said earlier this month that it will cut more than 6000 jobs in Europe by 2016 and reduce its operating expenses by €1bn (£840m).

While Npower is yet to make the official announcement of UK job cuts, the news has sparked widespread criticism on Twitter as the cost-cutting drive comes at the expense of UK jobs even as the profits at the big six energy companies soared 75% last year. Npower was one of the first energy companies to increase utilities tariff last month.

Workers' unions, Unison has said that Npower job cuts are a “Christmas nightmare” for its employees as well as its customers.

The union warned that the decision will backfire badly by damaging its reputation further amongst UK customers.

“If the company goes ahead with this disastrous plan, it will damage their already tarnished reputation for customer service.  At a time when unemployment is high, what commitment does it show to the UK by shipping these much needed jobs abroad?” asked Matthew Lay, national officer for Business and Environment from Unison.

Npower has let its customers and staff down by not investing enough in the workforce, technology or in customer services. “This has led to a huge number of complaints which the company seems to think they can deal with by shifting the responsibility to somewhere else – including to India,” said Lay.

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