Prospect working with OVO/SSE Energy Services to help members after redundancy announcement

19 May 2020

OVO/SSE Energy has today announced that it is going to be making around 2,600 workers redundant.

The purchase by OVO of the Energy Sector Retail Company, SSE Energy Services was sanctioned by the Competition and Marketing Authority back in late 2019, with the acquisition taking place mid-January 2020.

SSE Energy Services was formerly part of SSE plc, but the organisation was sectioned off with an initial failed merger with Npower’s retail arm.

The primary stakeholder in OVO Group and SSE Energy Services, Stephen Fitzpatrick, clearly referenced early on the intention to align SSE Energy Services with the existing OVO Energy ethos of moving to zero carbon living and transforming the UK energy market.

Whilst it’s recognised that moving to zero carbon living is a positive one, today OVO/SSE Energy Services announced signification job losses in the region of 2,600 employees.  The level of job losses are not just down to integration between the two organisations, but also factor in many other challenges being faced by the Energy Retail Sector.

Some of these challenges include operating in a more competitive sector with some low cost, low margin operators.  Continued advancements in AI and digital technologies, like SMART metering removing the need for parts of the business.  The cost cap mechanism on variable contracts and the addition of longer term challenges caused by the coronavirus pandemic.  These all add up to a challenging sector around a pinch point with the current pandemic.

Arron Baker, Prospect negotiator, said:

“Prospect recognises the challenge organisations face within an ever changing energy retail market, but it’s clear that the size and number of job losses announced today are considerable.  We welcome the pre-consultation approach adopted by the organisation which has reduced the overall number of roles at risk by 700.

“With continued dialogue, and the improved voluntary terms now on the table, we hope to get to a position where compulsory redundancy can be avoided.  This unfortunately isn’t something OVO/SSE Energy Services has been able to commit to but it is still something both sides seek to achieve.

“Prospect members can be assured that we will continue to support their interests and our reps are available for advice at what will be a worrying time for all.”

There looks to be some challenges ahead and Prospect has pressed further for the consideration of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to be utilised for roles where the pandemic has caused impact to business continuity.  Members will be invited to a call in the coming days to discuss further with their Fulltime Officer as the formal consultation period begins