The proposed merger between energy giants SSE and npower is for the sole benefit of shareholders, with scant concern for the workforce and the consumer, Unite, the country’s largest union, said today (Wednesday 8 November).
Unite said that this proposal was an appalling example of ‘rampant capitalism’ and called for an urgent meeting with the bosses of UK-owned SSE to seek future job reassurances for the 21,000-strong workforce.
Unite, which is the largest union at SEE, said it wanted a wide-ranging campaign to reverse this proposal which, it said, was not in the interests of the consumer as winter fuel bills were set to soar, or the employees.
Unite national officer for energy Kevin Coyne said: “This is a flagrant example of rampant capitalism designed to solely benefit the shareholders - the SSE share price rose on the merger news - with scant regard for the workforce and the hard-pressed consumer.
“We would urge the Competitions and Markets Authority to take a critical look at this merger as the ‘big six’ energy companies , with an estimated 80 per cent market share, would become the ‘big five’. Their stranglehold on the energy market will increase.
“The fact that the SSE management told its dedicated workforce of the news by podcast is shameful and an insult.
“This is all about placating shareholder demands as the dividend is linked to the retail price index, with the future of its staff very much a secondary consideration. SSE chalked up profits of a reported £1.54bn.
“We have apprentices just starting their working lives and those with mortgages facing a year of uncertainty as this merger plays out with German-owned npower. We fear that job losses could be on the cards to feed insatiable shareholder hunger.
“Unite wants an urgent meeting with SSE management to seek assurances about jobs and we would also like a wide-ranging campaign to reverse this decision which is not in the interests of the householder and employees.”
Notes to editors:
For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940. Unite press office is on: 020 3371 2065 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.