Threat to 600 jobs as Fenton npower base placed 'under review'
SIX hundred jobs could be at risk after energy giant npower revealed it has put its Stoke-on-Trent base 'under review'.
The gas and electricity supplier is undertaking a major restructuring of its business which could see its offices in Fenton sold off.
Staff say they have been told their jobs are being outsourced to a company based in India.
The office in Victoria Road deals with the administration of customer accounts.
Management at npower said negotiations were still at an early stage and could not give details on any possible redundancies.
Union officials are now in talks with npower bosses over how any changes could affect their members.
Richard Frost, from npower, said: "In the face of increasing external pressures on costs, we are reviewing the whole way we run our business.
"As part of this, we are looking at our property portfolio, including Stoke-on-Trent, but no decisions have yet been made."
One worker, who asked not to be named, said: "We've been told the site is due to be closed in the near future with duties being transferred abroad. Representatives of an Indian company are currently on the Stoke-on-Trent site and have been in discussions. We are naturally very worried about the future and management are refusing to comment."
npower has not given a time scale for the review and refused to comment on the possibility of the services moving to India.
MP for Stoke-on-Trent South Rob Flello today expressed his fears for the future of the site.
He said: "I was extremely disappointed to learn that npower is reviewing its Fenton site which could mean jobs being outsourced and up to 600 being lost.
"With unemployment still at an unacceptably high level companies like npower should be safeguarding jobs in the UK not shipping work abroad.
"I would urge npower to keep the Fenton site open and not put profits before people."
npower's review of its Fenton base comes after the company closed sites across the country, including an IT call centre in the West Midlands which employed nearly 300 people.
Kelvin Mawer, regional officer for Unite, said: "We are aware npower is looking at its portfolio of buildings and consolidating its operations.
"We are very concerned 600 jobs might be going in Stoke-on-Trent.
"We are looking into it and are contacting the directors of the site to find out exactly what the situation is.
"As a union we will be trying to maintain the jobs in the UK for our members and if there is a possibility of re-deployment then that will be discussed."