Up to 600 jobs at SSE could be moved from Havant to Reading in major shake-up

HUNDREDS of jobs could be moved away in a major shake-up at one of the area's biggest employers, a company insider has said.

Tuesday, 8th March 2016, 6:01 am
SSE's base in Penner Road, Havant  Picture: Google
SSE's base in Penner Road, Havant Picture: Google

SSE has announced that it will be moving jobs from its Penner Road site in Havant.

And a senior manager told The News that the company was not planning to renew its lease at Langstone Technology Park.

The manager, who asked not to be named, said 200 directly-employed jobs and about 400 contractors would be affected.

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SSE would not divulge numbers, but confirmed some staff will be moving to Reading.

The manager told The News: ‘It’s going to affect the whole area. It’s affected morale, people don’t know what their jobs are going to be. I’m very disappointed about this, it’s a company that was going to look after us but apparently not.’

All of the call centre staff – about 1,000 according to the source – will remain.

But IT coding specialists, IT developers, administrative staff, finance and HR workers, along with procurement specialists are due to move.

The insider told The News most people would be unable to move as they have families and have established their lives here.

He added SSE bosses had said one of the reasons for moving was due to a skills shortage in the area.

Tony Briggs, deputy leader at Havant Borough Council, said any loss would be a blow.

‘We’re obviously very disappointed when any company decides to move jobs out of the area,’ he said.

‘From that point of view any job losses are a blow to Havant and if it’s at all possible for those jobs to stay in Havant we’d be delighted.’

He added: ‘Across the south in general we do have a shortage in skills and that’s something that local authorities, the Partnership for Urban South Hampshire (Push), the Local Enterprise Partnership and the government are trying to address.’

He said he wanted to know the full reasons behind the planned move.

He added: ‘But it seems to me if that’s why they’re saying to have to move those jobs I don’t quite buy that, particularly if people are losing their jobs.’

The News understands a consultation process will run until next February and that the Basingstoke office is also due to move.

An SSE spokesman said: ‘We can confirm that some staff from the Portsmouth area will be moving next year to our new site at Forbury House in Reading which will act as a central hub for us in the south-east of England.

‘They will be joining staff moving to Forbury Place from our existing sites at Reading, Thatcham and Basingstoke. Conversations are ongoing and all staff will be kept fully informed.’

Havant MP Alan Mak said: ‘I’ve been in touch with SSE who say no final decisions have been made and discussions with staff are ongoing. I will press SSE to maintain a strong presence in Havant.’

Push chairman Cllr Sean Woodward said it was working with employers to make sure colleges and universities were training people in relevant skills for local employers.

He said: ‘That’s the shame of it. It’s not exactly like turning an oil tanker but it’s quite a significant issue to get the colleges to be delivering the skills.’