Offshoring in Energy

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2014 Energy Service Group Conference
21 February 2014

We note with concern the ever-increasing amount of work moved offshore by the energy utilities. In November of last year, npower confirmed it would cut nearly 1,460 “back office” jobs in the UK, or 15% of its staff in this country, and move them to India. It is outsourcing a further 540 British call centre jobs to Capita. British Gas and EDF Energy have already moved most back-office jobs offshore. In EDF Energy this trend has particularly affected older and disabled workers who are not capable of switching to call work, and who have been dismissed because no alternative duties are available.

The trend for offshoring is largely stimulated by the competitive pressures of the liberalised UK energy market that places price above quality and profits before jobs.

We remember the publication of UNISON’s report into offshoring in 2005 as an important contribution to the debate on the impact that offshoring is likely to have on the UK’s jobs market and in particular in the energy sector. We note the job losses are likely to occur in parts of the country that already suffer from higher than average levels of unemployment.

Conference is disappointed by the response of Government to the growing trend in offshoring. It appears to regard offshoring as an unavoidable consequence of globalisation.

Therefore Conference calls on the Energy Service Group Executive to:

i) Support branches in their efforts to resist offshoring.

ii) Work in liaison with other UNISON service groups and the NEC to develop strategies designed to combat offshoring or where necessary to protect members interests.

iii) Urge all energy companies to avoid offshoring and to instead invest in the skills and knowledge of their UK workforce.

iv) To liaise with the NEC to campaign to ensure that Government undertakes a full and thorough assessment of the impact of offshoring on the UK economy and puts in place measures to deal with the social consequences of offshoring to include retraining grants, relocation assistance and skills retention schemes.