Energy firm Ovo to cut workforce by a quarter amid growing energy crisis

ENERGY giant Ovo is set to announce 1,700 job cuts today, it is feared.

Trade unions have warned that the UK's third biggest gas and electricity supplier is likely to confirm plans to axe a quarter of its staff today.

Unite union said it warned in 2020 that Ovo was taking a risk when it took over the retail base of fellow energy giant SSE.

General secretary Sharon Graham said: "We will do everything in our power to defend our members' jobs.

"All and every option will be on the table. As a first step the company must now open the books to union experts.

"We will not sit by and watch our members being made to pay the price of the pandemic."

Up to 1,700 staff will lose their jobs out of a total workforce of 6,200 in a voluntary redundancy scheme, according to Sky News.

Ovo Energy is also set to announce minimum pay for its staff will rise to £12 an hour across the board.

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And all customer-facing jobs will be brought back to the UK.

A spokesperson for Ovo Energy declined to comment.

The company has 4.5 million UK customers and is one of the UK's big six energy providers.

The firm was set up in 2009, and bought SSE's household energy business for £500million two years ago, boosting its customer numbers.

Earlier this week, an Ovo spokesperson apologised and said it was "embarrassed" after telling customers to "cuddle your cat" and "do star jumps" to keep warm as energy bills rocket.

Internal emails listed 10 “simple and cost-effective ways to keep warm this winter”, the Financial Times reported.

The recommendations included "a cuddle with your pets and loved ones", chomping down some ginger and porridge, and avoiding chilli "as it makes you sweat".

A spokesman told the FT: "We understand how difficult the situation will be for many of our customers this year.

"We are working hard to find meaningful solutions as we approach this energy crisis, and we recognise that the content of this blog was poorly judged and unhelpful. We are embarrassed and sincerely apologise."

The news comes as a cost of living crunch bites and energy firms' costs continue to rise.

Experts are worried a "perfect storm" of gas price hikes, a looming national insurance increase and a million people being dragged into a higher tax rate could do great damage to the personal finances of millions.

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