npower today announced a proposed restructure of its customer service activities, focussed on delivering a more efficient, improved customer experience.
Under these proposals, customers would continue to be served by people based in UK call centres and back office functions would be outsourced.
Some of npower’s customer facing work would be outsourced to Capita which has extensive retail and utility expertise. Back office administration roles (such as checking meter readings against customers’ bills) would be outsourced to India using Tata Consultancy Services (TCS). The proposed changes would save on current customer service costs, at a time of external pressures on energy prices.
In total, across the North East, npower currently employs around 3950 people. Under these proposals around 430 people in the region would be made redundant, subject to consultation, around 540 would continue to work on our business but employed by Capita* and npower would still directly employ almost 3000 people in the North East.
The impact on each North East site is as follows:
• Rainton Bridge:
• npower’s North East headquarters at Rainton Bridge Business Park, Sunderland, would continue to be its flagship contact centre.
• There are currently 2200 people based in Rainton and overall numbers employed here would increase to around 2400 under these proposals. These changes would be made up of around 430 back office roles being made redundant, around 410 people moving to Capita in Peterlee* and around 1130 people moving into Rainton from Peterlee and Thornaby.
• npower currently has around 1250 employees in Peterlee divided between three offices: Tyne House, Tees House and Wear House. There will be no redundancies among these employees but around 110 will transfer to Capita* and around 630 will move to Rainton. Tyne House, which has around 500 employees, would be unaffected by this review. Tees House would close, and it is proposed that the ownership of Wear House would transfer to Capita.
• There are around 500 employees at npower’s office in Thornaby. This office would close in June 2014 but all the roles based here would be secure: employees here would be offered a position elsewhere in the North East, mainly at npower’s headquarters in Rainton.
• These employees would also be offered support with transport for three years. During consultation, individual circumstances will be considered and people may be given the option of moving over to Capita* and working from Wear House or taking voluntary redundancy.
npower will now be undertaking a 60 day consultation programme with the 430 affected employees from Rainton. Enhanced redundancy terms would be offered and there will also be a full package of on-site advice and support.
Gareth Pickles, npower’s customer service director, comments, “Today’s announcement would mean a lot of changes but our commitment to the North East remains very strong - there’ll still be around three and a half thousand people in the region helping npower customers every day.
“As a business, we’re operating in extremely tough times and we’ve had to look at what’s right for the long term future of the company. We also have to keep our costs as low as possible when our customers are seeing bills going up due to a range of external factors."
Notes to editors
Notes to editors
* Employees will be moved to Capita under ‘TUPE’. This is the abbreviation for the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006. TUPE provides protection to employees when their employer changes following the transfer of an undertaking, preserving the terms and conditions of employees who are transferred to a new employer.