Union's fears over energy giants merger

By agency reporter
November 9, 2017

The proposed merger between energy giants SSE and npower is for the sole benefit of shareholders, with scant concern for the workforce or the consumer, said the trade union Unite.

Unite said that the 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. The union said it wanted a wide-ranging campaign to reverse the proposal which, it said, was not in the interests of the consumer as winter fuel bills were set to soar, or the employees.

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 £1.54 billion.

“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 wants an urgent meeting with SSE management to seek assurances about jobs and we would also like a  wide-ranging campaign to reverse this decision which is not in the interests of the householder and employees.”

* Unite http://www.unitetheunion.org/

[Ekk/6]

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