Turbulent Times Indeed! Training for UNISON Stewards and representatives on reorganisations, redundancies and TUPE

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2019 Energy Service Group Conference
26 February 2019

The Energy sector is undergoing an unprecedented level of change, arguably the most change since the privatisation of the sector in the 1980’s. The sector is facing real challenges from competition within the sector; political challenges from all political parties and the media; the need to meet OFGEM requirements; opinions from the consumers whose switching awareness and ability means that switching is becoming more prevalent and also supported by the increased use of mass group switching organisations. There are many new players coming into the sector which in and of itself is not a bad thing but these are often start up companies with no level playing field, operating at a loss and not bound by all the requirements put on the Big 6 (or should that be 5?) Generally there is an unknown future of the sector in terms of what Energy will look like next year, indeed, the next decade.

Over the last few years and as a result of all of the above, we have experienced large scale job losses and reorganisations in our employers including British Gas and Centrica, EON, EDF and Npower. British Gas announced 4,000 job losses, EON announced 500, Npower announced 2,400 job losses a few years ago with another 900 this year. Although there was no specific figure announced for EDF, 6% of the workforce will be or has been affected globally between 2017 and 2019. Plus 10 smaller employers went into liquidation in the last year resulting in overnight job losses.

As a result of this, local UNISON stewards and branches are having to react and support our members through these redundancy and reorganisation programmes, protecting our members’ jobs and job security, securing employment and getting the best for our members through redundancies and TUPE transfers.

To help support our stewards and representatives we believe they would benefit from sector specific training. To this end, we call on the Energy Service Group Executive to:

1) devise and promote bespoke Energy Sector training on redundancies and reorganisations and TUPE;

2) provide tool kits and checklists on what to do in the event of reorganisations, redundancies and TUPE transfers;

3) promote and support pan-regional training to benefit from collective experiences across regions and across employers.