Centrica planning 700 management and back office job cuts

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Centrica is to cut jobs (PA)

British Gas owner Centrica is planning to cut around 700 management and back office jobs under previously announced reductions as it faces “growing challenges”.

The company said staff had been told about the cuts, which were part of its “ongoing transformation.”

A spokesman said: “This difficult decision was made because we need to respond to the growing challenges we face. The energy market is going through continued rapid change, competition is fierce, our energy customers are leaving us and we’re operating under a price cap.

“Over the next 45 days, as part of a full consultation process, we will discuss the proposals and seek the views of employees and their representatives.”

Unions said the job losses were a “terrible blow” for the workforce.

The planned job cuts are part of 4,000 the company announced in February 2018, with 2,200 going last year.

In April this year, Centrica made another announcement which proposed a reduction of 500 roles.

The job losses are expected to be completed by the end of this year, with an update given at the company’s interim results at the end of July.

Justin Bowden, national officer of the GMB union, said: “Centrica’s still falling share price tells you everything you need to know about the state of the company and how it has been run over the past few years.

“British Gas cannot just cut its way out of a crisis, largely of its own making, simply by slashing jobs and trying to offshore.

“There has to be investment, innovation and a proper plan and vision for the future that reverses customer losses, produces growth and puts right some deep-seated cultural issues.”

Unison’s national energy officer Matt Lay said: “This is another terrible blow for a workforce that’s already seen hundreds of jobs go. It’s a catastrophe being repeated up and down the country as all the major energy suppliers axe staff in a desperate attempt to stay afloat.

“But it doesn’t have to be this way. If the Government took the retail arms of the big six energy firms into public ownership these jobs could be saved.

“The staff could then help us all go green and ensure the UK meets its target to be carbon neutral by 2050.”

GMB Scotland organiser Hazel Nolan added: “It’s the continued collapse of a once great British institution ahead of what will surely be a set of disastrous results next month.

“Let’s be clear that without intervention, sooner or later Scotland will suffer more pain. We expect a continued wave of cuts in the months to come and that’s more bad news for the fragile Scottish economy.”

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