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Local Representatives Meet with OVO Energy

Last week, OVO Energy announced that it will be cutting 1,700 jobs through voluntary redundancy and closing the Perth office which is home to 700 jobs.

This week, local representatives are meeting with the company to discuss options to protect the jobs of local people.

MSPs John Swinney and John Fairley were joined by MP Pete Wishart in their discussion with OVO to find a solution.

Following the meeting, Mr Swinney said: “I remain very concerned by the proposals put forward by OVO.

“Despite our repeated attempts to seek clarity, OVO did not provide a satisfactory answer on whether compulsory redundancies would be implemented if 1700 employees did not accept the offer of voluntary redundancy.

“OVO have assured us that they will be in a position to provide further clarification on this point in early February, once they have a better understanding of the uptake of the voluntary redundancy programme. Accordingly, we have agreed to meet with OVO management in the first week of February to obtain answers to these vital questions.

“It is very unsatisfactory that OVO are either unwilling or unable to share with us basic information regarding any potential escalation of a voluntary redundancy scheme. A well-thought-out business proposal would account for the fact that there may not be a full uptake of the voluntary redundancy proposal within the workforce, and would therefore have contingency plans in place for this eventuality.”

However, while OVO is closing their office, they’re also looking into opportunities to offer working from home to their employees.

An OVO Spokesperson explained: “Scotland is a great place for our business, which is why we’re making it an operational centre of excellence, and one of our three office locations. We are opening a new OVO Academy in Glasgow, creating opportunities in the city that hosted COP26, for those who want to be at the forefront of the UK’s green revolution. 

“While we’re closing some of our offices, there is an opportunity for remote working. The pandemic has changed the way we work, and many of our offices are underused with people already working remotely. 

“We’re committed to investing in Scotland; creating higher skilled, better paid jobs in Scotland.”

Although, the SNP representatives did not feel reassured after their meeting with OVO, emphasising that they felt their questions were left unanswered.

Mr Fairlie added: “I am hugely disappointed that OVO Founder and Chief Executive, Stephen Fitzpatrick, did not make himself available to answer serious questions about the planned closure of the Perth office. When OVO first bought SSE Retail, they talked a good game in relation to their relationship with their workforce, but that was not particularly evident at our meeting.

“I questioned OVO on their commitment to Perth, and asked them if they had considered basing their new national hub here, but it would appear that they failed to give consideration to Perth as their Scottish base.

Mr Wishart also added: “I am extremely disappointed with the lack of clarity that was provided in today’s meeting with OVO officials. Despite several attempts, we are still no closer to understanding what exactly the closure of OVO’s Perth office means for job losses. 

“OVO have stated that they are seeking 1,700 redundancies across the UK, with their Perth office holding around 700 staff. However, they were unable to confirm whether or not they would need to pursue compulsory redundancies should a small number of staff opt to leave their positions voluntarily.  

“At the heart of this issue is my commitment to ensuring economic viability in my constituency. As OVO is one of Perth’s largest private employers, it is absolutely critical that they provide further clarity about the employment security of their Perth-based staff, and that they do so quickly. “

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