British Gas and SPS are latest to announce big job losses

As the economic crisis bites, employers are looking to cut not only jobs but also pay, pensions and everything else.

Proletarian writers

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Proletarian writers

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Centrica, the owner of British Gas (privatised by Thatcher) plans to cut 5,000 jobs in Britain. It plans to slash its labour costs by outsourcing its call centres and back-office operations to ‘offshore’ providers in South Africa and India, whilst its in-house engineers will be replaced by outside contractors.

Under already intensifying competition in the crowded energy supply market, now aggravated by the covid lockdown, British Gas is struggling to hang on to its customer base, last year losing 286,000 of its customers. Since the lockdown, things have got even worse, with industrial customers shutting up shop and domestic customers deferring payment.

Centrica employs 27,000 workers globally, of whom 20,000 are in Britain. The 5,000 faced with redundancy represent 25 percent of the British workforce.

Particularly badly hit will be Yorkshire, with hundreds of jobs under threat as the company moves to close its regional training academy in Leeds.

SPS Technologies

SPS Technologies, meanwhile, which makes aerospace parts, is also using the excuse of the lockdown to justify aggressively slashing labour costs through redundancies and the imposition of inferior employee contracts at its plants in Nottingham, Leicester and Rugby.

The company is planning over 420 redundancies across the Midlands, while workers who remain face the prospect of reductions to pay grades, sick pay, shift premiums, paid breaks – and anything else that SPS can dream up to shave down labour costs.

In Nottinghamshire, the company is planning to get rid of about 100 of the 300 workers at its Annesley plant and another 40 out of the 100 workers at its Mansfield plant, whilst in Leicester it wants to consign another 100 workers out of 480 to the scrap heap. And in Rugby there are nigh on another 100 losing their jobs.