Ovo cuts: Union says 1,700 proposed job losses and closure of Havant energy firm site's is 'devastating' for staff
A UNION says job losses and the proposed closure of a Havant energy firm’s site was ‘devastating’ for staff.
Up to 1,700 jobs are at risk at energy giant Ovo – more than a quarter of its UK workforce of 6,200 – including at its Penner Road site in Havant, which is thought to be the company’s biggest base. It employs about 1,000 people in Havant but is set to be closed.
Ovo took over SSE’s gas and electricity home energy supply business two years ago.
Its three remaining offices will be in Bristol, Glasgow and London.
Unison south east said the government can no longer stand by and has called on it to ‘stop the UK’s energy sector imploding’.
A spokesman for Unison south east said: ‘It’s devastating news for Ovo staff, some of them are just shell-shocked.
‘It’s a horrendous way to start an already unpredictable year. It’s a personal tragedy for those anxious about what the future holds and also for their families. There’s never been a more important time to be a member of a trade union.
‘Late yesterday Unison negotiators helped to reduce the number of staff at risk of redundancy from 2,000 to 1,700. We still believe we can make an impact and reduce the number of redundancies further. Several meetings between unions and management are already scheduled.’
Unison said its immediate priority was the ‘interests of our members and the impact on Ovo customers’, with the union promising to ‘rigorously examine the company’s business case’ as it seeks to defend its members’ jobs.
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Speaking of the possible closure of Ovo’s site at Penner Road, the spokesman said: ‘This could have a significant impact on the local economy and could lead to an influx of skilled workers now joining those already struggling to find work.
‘This is obviously very worrying news and a blow for Ovo employees working in the south east.
‘Ovo has been a significant employer in Havant for many years and many staff will have gained their experience from previous employment in and around the area, working for SSE Plc and Southern Electric before that.’