News : British Gas to Cut 684 Jobs as it Shuts Oldbury Call Centre
Oldbury, England, April 20, 2016 -- British Gas is to cut 684 jobs in its services business as it shuts down its Oldbury call centre, under the latest stage of the energy provider's cost-cutting drive.
The job losses form part of parent company Centrica's plan to slash 6,000 jobs by the end of 2017 as it seeks to become more competitive.
The latest cuts come in the division offering services including boiler repair, plumbing and electrical engineering and are all "office-based roles" at the Oldbury office, which is a contact centre for customers to make appointments.
Claire Miles, managing director of customer operations at British Gas, said the decision was part of its strategy "to improve service and reduce costs, to ensure we can price competitively".
She said it reflected the fact that its customers "increasingly want to contact us online" rather than by phone.
"For these reasons we are planning to consolidate our activity on fewer sites, and we have made the difficult decision to propose closing our Oldbury office and call centre."
It is understood the company is currently proposing to retain three other call centres.
Matt Lay, national energy officer at Unison, said: "This is terrible news for the company’s Birmingham-based employees, who will be devastated at the prospect of losing their jobs.
British Gas said its customers increasingly chose to contact it online. Credit: British Gas
British Gas said it would consult with staff over the next 45 days and if the closure went ahead it would "explore redeployment opportunities for people whose roles are affected".
Centrica said on Monday that it had already made 800 job cuts so far this year and expected to make 3,000 by the end of 2016.
This suggests about a further 1,500 roles to go across the business in coming months after the Oldbury announcement.
The 800 jobs lost so far include 500 from the shutting of British Gas's home insulation business.
Ms Miles of British Gas added: "I recognise that today’s announcement represents difficult news for our employees who may be affected. Our priority now is to support all those potentially impacted, and to ensure a fair and transparent consultation process, working with our people and their representatives."
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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About British Gas:
British Gas is a British-owned company. As part of the Centrica Group, we provide gas, electricity and home repair services to millions of customers in Scotland, Wales and England. In fact, we are the UK's leading energy and Home Services provider.
Published: Friday, April 22, 2016