News

Prospect ‘seeking answers’ for members following National Grid’s WPD deal and plan to sell gas business

18 March 2021

Prospect is reassuring and supporting its members at both companies, following the announcement that National Grid is to buy Western Power Distribution in a £7.8bn deal and that it also intends to sell off its gas transmission network division.

Prospect has active and experienced branches with strong industrial relations at both National Grid and WPD. Moreover, the union’s full-time officers are familiar with the structures and workings of both companies.

National Gas Grid

Prospect said National Grid’s intention to sell National Gas Grid from the second half of 2021, and completely by 2022, would be ‘startling news’ to its members and has asked for an urgent consultation.

“Prospect shares the belief that electricity transmission and distribution are at the heart of the energy transition, however for this to be a ‘just transition’ we will be calling on National Grid to present a clear set of proposals that address the concerns that members, whether they are in electricity or gas transmission, metering or distribution, have about the impact, for example, on their terms and conditions, skills and job security,” said Prospect national secretary, Steve Thomas.

WPD

National Grid’s purchase of WPD and its intention to sell off National Grid Gas is seen as recognition of the increased need for electricity capacity, cleaner energy and to help achieve Net Zero.

WPD, which employs around 6,500 staff, is Britain’s biggest electricity distribution business, operating in the Midlands, the South West and Wales.

Members of Prospect’s WPD branch have already contacted union officers and are calling for urgent talks with the company.

Steve Thomas added: “At this stage it is not clear what impact that acquisition will have on WPD or National Grid employees. Given the timescales Prospect will be seeking answers and assurances from both companies as a matter of urgency on what impact this will have on our members.”

In its own communications on the news, National Grid did have a reassuring message for WPD employees.

Their statement read:

“National Grid expects existing WPD personnel to continue to contribute to WPD’s success and is therefore committed to attracting and retaining WPD talent. National Grid intends to maintain the WPD headquarters in Bristol and offices in other key locations, within the Group, and for WPD to be an important pillar of National Grid’s UK business going forward.”


Energy

From generation to transmission, Prospect represents the interests of over 22,000 members working across all parts of the energy sector.