THE proposed merger between energy giants SSE and Npower is for the sole benefit of shareholders, with scant concern for the workforce and the consumer, the Unite union said yesterday.
Unite said that this proposal was an appalling example of ‘rampant capitalism’ and called for an urgent meeting with the bosses of UK-owned SSE to seek future job reassurances for the 21,000-strong workforce.
Unite said it wanted a wide-ranging campaign to reverse this proposal which, it said, was not in the interests of the employees, or of the consumer, as winter fuel bills were set to soar. Unite national officer for energy, Kevin Coyne, said: ‘This is a flagrant example of rampant capitalism designed to solely benefit the shareholders – the SSE share price rose on the merger news – with scant regard for the workforce and the hard-pressed consumer.
‘We would urge the Competitions and Markets Authority to take a critical look at this merger as the “big six” energy companies, with an estimated 80 per cent market share, would become the “big five”. Their stranglehold on the energy market will increase. The fact that the SSE management told its dedicated workforce of the news by podcast is shameful and an insult.
‘This is all about placating shareholder demands as the dividend is linked to the retail price index, with the future of its staff very much a secondary consideration. SSE chalked up profits of a reported £1.54bn.
‘We have apprentices just starting their working lives and those with mortgages facing a year of uncertainty as this merger plays out with German-owned Npower. We fear that job losses could be on the cards to feed insatiable shareholder hunger.’
• Unite General Secretary Len McCluskey has written to Gavin Williamson MP, the new secretary of state for defence, calling on him to intervene to stop a multi-million pound company robbing the wages of low-paid cleaners.
Workers at the MoD’s Fort Blockhouse base in Gosport Hampshire undertaking roles as cleaners, mess hands and housekeepers, are employed by ESS, part of the Compass Group. ESS has cut the working year from 52 to 50 weeks, leaving them unpaid for a fortnight and cynically robbed of roughly £500 a year each.
ESS is also cutting the working year and robbing the wages of workers at Whale Island (Portsmouth) and other locations.