OVO Energy is to close its Perth office as the company cuts 1,700 jobs across the UK.
The firm has launched a voluntary redundancy programme for its 6,200 workers as part of plans to consolidate operations with just three offices in London, Bristol, and Glasgow.
It comes two years after OVO Energy bought over the retail arm of SSE.
At the time the company said “nothing will change” for staff employed in the Perth office.
However, it backtracked on this only four months later and hundreds were laid off in May 2020.
What did OVO Energy say about Perth jobs in January 2020?
OVO Energy officially took over SSE Energy Services on January 15 2020, which served around five million customers.
Alistair Phillips-Davies, CEO of SSE Plc, said at the time he “firmly believed” the £500 million deal was the best outcome for “the business, its customers and its employees”.
OVO Energy also gave reassurances there would be no redundancies as a result of the takeover.
A spokesperson said: “The acquisition includes the customers, operations and employees of the SSE Energy Services businesses, (around) 1,000 of which are in Perth.
“We have a detailed integration plan that leaders from both companies have collaborated on since September and will share what we can, when we can.
“In the meantime, individuals and teams will continue to work as usual and nothing will change for the time being.”
What happened after that?
However, this all changed only four months later, in May 2020.
OVO Energy announced it was opening up a voluntary redundancy programme for 2,600 jobs, blaming the coronavirus pandemic for “accelerating its integration plans”.
It also closed down its offices in Selkirk, Reading and Glasgow.
Many members of staff were on furlough when the announcement came, and although some went back to work to complete their redundancy period, some were laid off immediately.
On 19 May 2020, the then-chief executive of OVO Energy, Stephen Fitzpatrick, said: “Today is a very difficult day.
“We have a brilliant team here and this news isn’t a reflection of anyone’s work.
“What should have been a much longer process to digitise the SSE business and integrate it with OVO has been accelerated due to the impact of the coronavirus.
“We are seeing a rapid increase in customers using digital channels to engage with us, and in our experience, once customers start to engage differently they do not go back.
“As a result, we are expecting a permanent reduction in demand for some roles, whilst other field-based roles are also heavily affected.
“There is never an easy time to announce redundancies and this is a particularly difficult decision to take.
“But like all businesses, we face a new reality and need to adapt quickly to enable us to better serve our customers and invest in a zero-carbon future.”
The GMB union accused OVO Energy of a “massive betrayal” of promises made to workers.
What has OVO said about latest job cuts?
The company have yet to comment publicly on Thursday’s developments, first broken by Sky News.
Union bosses have hit out at the reports.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “We will do everything in our power to defend our members’ jobs.
“All and every option will be on the table. As a first step the company must now open the books to union experts.
“We will not sit by and watch our members being made to pay the price of the pandemic.”