ScottishPower plans 300 redundancies amid 'unprecedented challenges'
ScottishPower workers have been warned of the potential for a "high number of compulsory redundancies" as the firm prepares to cut 300 jobs.
Staff in the Spanish-owned giant's retail arm will be affected as the number of planned losses doubles amidst ongoing turmoil in the energy market.
The company says it aims to "avoid compulsory redundancies", but the Prospect trade union has told members that they face the potential for a significant number of such cuts.
It is understood that most losses will take place in the Glasgow and Liverpool offices of ScottishPower Energy Retail and a 45-day consultation has begun.
The 300 figure comes as the company increases the number of jobs it plans to cut. In December, moves to make 140 redundancies were revealed to the workforce, but this has now risen by an additional 160.
Prospect official Ian Perth told Holyrood there are questions over the potential offshoring of the jobs. He said: "The company started engagement with us late last year with a view to making around 140 redundancies. We were confident they could be achieved voluntarily. We were very disappointed to learn that following a new review, the company is now proposing 300 redundancies. A new consultation began this month and the sheer scale means that there will likely be a significant level of compulsory redundancy.
‘"Our members have had a gruelling two years supporting Scottish Power customers, with many turning their front rooms into temporary contact centres to ensure the most vulnerable customers could keep their heat and lights on throughout the pandemic.
"We have a degree of understanding for ScottishPower Energy Retail, who are affected by the inadequate government support and ineffective regulation of the retail energy market that has forced them to sell energy at a substantial loss. However parts of the ScottishPower group remain highly profitable and any financial losses are not the fault of ScottishPower staff, so to be faced with potential compulsory redundancy will be devastating blow to them and their families.
"We have a long list of questions for the employer about where exactly the work our members currently carry out is going to be done if they are made redundant.
"We will do everything possible to reduce the amount of compulsory redundancies, and to maximise support for those who may be forced to leave."
In December, ScottishPower said the planned losses would be offset by the creation of 60 new digital staff positions.
Its retail arm, which has around 4.8million customers, recorded a £12m loss for the first three months of the year.
Bosses said the "continued strain on earnings" was linked to the six-month delay in updating the price cap mechanism applied by government.
A ScottishPower spokesperson confirmed to Holyrood that the 300 figure is correct. In a statement, the company said: "The energy retail market is experiencing unprecedented challenges and we're reviewing our organisational structure to ensure it is optimised to best deliver for customers."
It went on: "Our aim, where possible, is to avoid compulsory redundancies by redeploying employees in alternative roles in the wider ScottishPower group. Where this is not possible, enhanced redundancy terms will be offered and a full consultation is now underway with employees and trade unions.
"We appreciate this will be a worrying time for affected employees and will continue to engage openly and transparently with both them and their representatives in the weeks ahead."