Npower closing Peterlee and Oldbury sites

Energy giant Npower will close further offices in Peterlee and Oldbury under a major corporate restructure which will see 1,460 jobs go.

The company, owned by Germany's RWE, announced job losses at sites in Leeds, Sunderland, Stoke-on-Trent and Oldbury in November.

It is outsourcing much of its customer service and back office functions to Capita and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS).

Call centres will remain in the UK.

The supplier said 500 staff would be relocated when it closes its Tyne House offices in Peterlee.

'Dim view'

They will either move to Rainton, Sunderland or Burton-on-Trent.

The closure of Birchfield House in Oldbury by the end of the year is in addition to the closure of Quayside House in the town, which had already been announced.

Bosses said they were "exploring converting Birchfield into project, training and meeting space" for their Midlands workers.

The third site in the town, Birch House, is staying open after 400 staff are cut.

Image caption Over 500 employees will continue to work in Oldbury after the redundancies

Labour's MP for Warley John Spellar said he believed people in Oldbury would take a "dim view" of the second planned office closure in the town.

He added: "This outsourcing is gouging out yet more profit.

"I think they should remember who pays their bills, consumers in the Midlands."

Rob Flello, Labour's MP for Stoke-on-Trent South, added: "It doesn't surprise me they've announced other closures. You marvel at what on earth they are doing."

An Npower spokeswoman said: "We believe that bringing teams together will reduce the number of sites Npower owns, enabling more effective customer service processes and decision making.

"For the Tyne House employees, Rainton is only an additional 10 miles and they will receive excess travel costs for the next three years.

"About a dozen employees' work will be transferring to Burton-on-Trent. These people will be offered redeployment or relocation."

The firm said outsourcing would help it cope with peak time calls.

Back office work, such as checking meter readings against customers' bills, would be outsourced to India using TCS.

A company spokeswoman confirmed most of the 1,460 workers would leave by June 30 and the remainder by the end of the year.

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