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Job cuts at Ovo blasted by union

Written by: Emma Lunn
One in four jobs at energy giant Ovo Energy are at risk as bosses announced plans to cull 2,000 roles.

The job cuts are part of a restructuring exercise aimed at saving costs amid the deepening energy industry crisis.

According to union Unite, the energy supplier’s plans to make 1,700 to 2,000 workers redundant were announced to Ovo staff this morning. 

Ovo was set up in 2007 and became the UK’s third biggest supplier in 2020 when it acquired SSE. Only British Gas and E.ON are bigger. The acquisition transformed OVO’s annual turnover by £3bn, from £1.45bn to £4.46bn. It now has about 4.5 million customers.

Unite warned at the time Ovo acquired SSE that the move was a huge risk which could jeopardise Ovo’s future.

Sharon Graham, Unite general secretary, said “We will do everything in our power to defend our members’ jobs. All and every option will be on the table. As a first step the company must now open the books to union experts. We will not sit by and watch our members being made to pay the price of the pandemic.”

In the past five years Unite estimates that the top directors of Ovo took £4.6m out of the company in salaries and benefits. Not named in the accounts, but the best paid director, likely to be the current CEO Stephen Fitzpatrick, earned almost half that figure.

The announcement about redundancies came just days after Ovo was criticised for sending customers patronising energy saving advice such as doing star jumps or cuddling a pet to keep warm.

One source told Sky News that Ovo’s announcement of the redundancy programme would be accompanied by a commitment to increase minimum pay across the company to £12-an-hour, and to “reshore” all customer-facing jobs to the UK.

It also plans to open a new academy in Glasgow, and to close a number of its sites as part of a consolidation to three locations in London, Bristol and Glasgow.

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