Thames Water, the UK’s largest water company, has announced the start of a consultation to remove over 300 roles in order to “reduce costs further and become more efficient”. This could mean over 140 redundancies, and many roles axed through the removal of vacancies.
As the largest union in the employer, UNISON is raising serious concerns about the proposals – for example, whether sufficient analysis has been done on the impact of the job cuts on workloads and whether there have been more vacancies removed over the past month than have been quoted.
The consultation also comes as the company is still working through this year’s severely delayed pay negotiations, with the union having been told that, if the implementation of the pay deal happens after December, staff who are being made redundant would not receive the backpay and bonus payment they are due.
This raises significant questions about whether workers facing redundancy would be forced into voting to accept an unsatisfactory offer for fear of losing out entirely.
UNISON regional organiser Jay Williams said: “UNISON has long argued the workforce is Thames Water’s greatest asset. Forcing redundancies to secure the profit margin for shareholders is not only short-sighted, but an affront to the workforce and customers alike.
“As well as there being devastating consequences for those facing the axe, their colleagues will have to take the strain of an increased workload. Services to customers will no doubt worsen as a result.
“UNISON will fight to protect jobs. But this announcement must be added to the ever-growing list of reasons why the water industry would be better off in public hands.”