Just a few weeks before Christmas, E. On employees received grim news when the energy company announced it would cut nearly 700 jobs over the next two years.
The company plans to make the cuts mainly in support and management functions in order to migrate customers to a new platform.
A total of 695 of 3,500 jobs are affected.
Union leaders have described the news as “devastating”.
Most of the jobs affected will come from the company’s non-customer-centric private and small business (SMB) businesses, the company said.
An E.On spokesperson said: “We informed our colleagues today of plans to continue transforming a number of areas in our UK business, most notably our residential and SME utility operations with a small number of roles from our industrial and corporate divisions Trading business.
“This is not a new announcement – it is the next level of detail on proposals previously presented to colleagues.
“We are migrating npower and E.On customers to our new E.On Next platform. The efficiency improvements mean that our residential and SME operations will ultimately be smaller in the future.
“We will continue to consult fully with the unions and job cuts will be achieved over the next two years on a voluntary basis wherever possible.
“As always, we will work with our colleagues to provide help and support, including directing people to other opportunities within E.On.”
The new E.On Next platform is scheduled to be completed in 2022.
E.On is the second largest energy supplier in Great Britain, which is owned by Germany.
It employs a total of 9,400 people.
Unite Regional Representative Matt Jones said, “This is devastating news for E.On workers and their families ahead of Christmas, but not unexpected given the recent talks on harmonizing the services E has been offering since Npower has acquired.
“The restructuring process was also accelerated by the impact of Covid-19 on its business model.
“Unite continues to strive to work constructively with E.On management in this difficult time for the energy sector and the country in general, and to provide our members with maximum support.”
He added: “During the consultation period, we will examine the business case for job losses and examine options such as improved voluntary layoffs, redeployment and early retirement to reduce the impact on the livelihoods and jobs of our members.
“We will speak out strongly against layoffs.
“However, we will not tolerate any steps that use the pandemic as an excuse to undermine the pay and employment conditions of our members. These steps are strongly resisted.”
The news comes just minutes after it was revealed that Peacocks and Jaeger were joining the administration.
The UK economy is prepared for another recession after the government imposed a second lockdown.
Most economists are prepared for unemployment to rise for the rest of the year – if not longer.
Recent figures put the UK unemployment rate at 1.62 million, and restrictions on businesses in business are severely limiting business opportunities to make money.