Hundreds of workers will lose their jobs as gas and electricity supplier Ovo Energys Perth’s office announces plans to lay off a quarter of its UK workforce.
About 700 employees are known to work in the Perth office, which is set to come as the company launches a voluntary layoff program for 6,200 employees.
The move is part of a plan to consolidate operations into just three offices in London, Bristol and Glasgow, two years after OVO Energy acquired SSE’s retail division. At the time, the company said there would be no change to the staff employed in the Perth office.
However, it was traced back in just four months, with hundreds of layoffs in May 2020. OVO Energy officially acquired SSE Energy Services, which served approximately 5 million customers on January 15, 2020.
Alistair Phillips-Davies, CEO of SSE plc, said he firmly believed that 500 million transactions at the time was the best outcome for the business, customers and employees.
OVO Energy was also confident that there would be no duplication as a result of the acquisition.
The reduction of the UK offices from 10 to 3 will also result in the closure of two bases in Edinburgh and one in Cumbernold.
Adrian Letts, president of OVO’s retail business, told employees in a letter: The process will develop over the next few months.
We work with recognized unions to ensure that everyone has the right information and support.
Undersecretary John Swinney, who is also the regional MSP, said he was seeking an urgent dialogue with OVO to understand OVO’s decision.
He added: I am currently contacting OVO management to better understand the reasons behind this decision, and will try to meet with local OVO staff to discuss the potential impact.
I will be asking all voters who may be affected by today’s announcement and I think I can help you get in touch with my office directly.
Perth and North Perthshire MP Pete Wishart said they were disappointed when OVO offered to invest and develop offices when acquiring the Perth site in January 2020.
He said: After all the promises made to employees when SSE was acquired, this is bad news.
I am very concerned about OVO’s announcement and a job loss of this size will have a huge impact on the Perth labor market.
I know energy companies are now operating in very difficult commercial environments, but I cannot forget the number of promises OVO made to Perth and the former SSE workforce when it acquired Inveralmond.
So I am very disappointed that the Perth plant is closed instead of developing as they suggested. I would like to meet OVO and get a clear answer on what exactly is wrong.
Unite union’s Elaine Dougall told the BBC Radio Scotland Drivetime program she had no idea how many jobs were at risk in Scotland.
She said the union is discussing with OVO Energy, but the employees are in shock.
The way it’s communicated via social media and news isn’t the best way to know that your job is potentially under threat.
The layoffs are understood to be related to the company that acquired SSE three years ago and the consolidation of the company into OVO.
OVO also said it will create a new Ovo Academy in Glasgow that will create new opportunities in the city for those who want to be at the forefront of the UK’s green revolution.
About 1,000 call center employees will be trained to become zero-carbon living advisors with expertise in green home products and tariffs to technologies that make homes more energy efficient.
It also announced that it would raise the basic wage to 12 hours, 15% higher than the previous wage.
In 2020, the company announced plans to close operations on Glasgows Waterloo Street and Selkirk.
The company had to apologize after emailing customers earlier this week advising them to lower their heating bills by hugging their pets or eating a bowl of porridge.
OVO has not yet officially responded to this plan.
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