German company RWE to axe 2,400 UK jobs. EPSU says: Respect workers' rights to information and consultation

(8 March 2016) Workers, shop stewards and union officials had to read it in the newspapers: the German company RWE, operating as Npower, wants to shed a 1/5 of its UK workforce. This will have a devastating impact on workers, their families and communities.

EPSU General Secretary Jan Willem Goudriaan stated: “Reading in the newspaper that your job is about to go is not the way a major company such as RWE should treat its workers. The company should fully respect its commitments to information and consultation rights at workplace, at both a national and European level. Workers and their unions should be in a position to discuss alternatives to these horrendous cuts. I expect RWE not to force dismissals and discuss with the unions how to keep jobs.”

The causes for the problems are said to be numerous, including the volatility of the energy markets and poor management at the top. The company failed to invest in its customer services, and its poor record has compelled many customers to leave.

Unions question the commitment of the company to its UK businesses. With 2,400 out of 11,500 workers to go, such losses will have serious impacts on the remaining business operations and staff. The company has outsourced many jobs already and has back-office operations in India. The job losses will occur in regions where there are few opportunities to find another job. This is especially true for the North East of the UK, where the axe is likely to fall.

EPSU affiliates with membership in Npower include GMB, Prospect, Unison and Unite.

NB: Npower's power station at Didcot in Oxfordshire collapsed last month as it was being prepared for demolition, killing one worker, with three still missing.