After OVO Energy announced that they are planning to cut back on 1,700 jobs across the UK, with 700 on the line in their Perth Office, through voluntary redundancy, MSPs are working to protect local employees.
Conservative MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife, Murdo Fraser is investigating the possibility of offering local employees the chance to work from home instead of taking on redundancy. He’s joined by, fellow Conservative MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife, Liz Smith, who is meeting with OVO Energy this week.
The minister for business, trade, tourism and enterprise, Ivan McKee, is also meeting with OVO Energy and informed Mr Fraser in Parliament that he is happy to take the suggestion to the energy firm.
Mr Fraser explained: “I was pleased to hear the Minister for Business say he would discuss my suggestion that Perth OVO staff could work from home if they couldn’t relocate to the planned new hub in Glasgow.
“Mr McKee said he will be meeting OVO tomorrow [January 19], and my colleague Liz Smith MSP and I will be meeting them later this week when we will raise our concerns over the move to close the Perth site. There is real anger at this move by OVO, especially when following their takeover over the retail arm of SSE, they stated they would maintain a presence in Perth.
“OVO need to consider alternatives to making all these workers redundant. They have said staff could be allocated to the three remaining sites – a new hub in Glasgow, Bristol or London, if they live within 30 miles of one of these. I therefore asked the Minister if he could suggest OVO explore the possibility of allowing some Perth staff to work remotely from home if they are not able to relocate to Glasgow – thus also continuing their presence in Perth.”
OVO Energy emphasised how working form home is an option they already offer to staff and that closing their office does not necessarily mean many of the jobs will be lost.
A 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.
Mr Fraser added: “To close the Perth site, with the loss of around 700 jobs, will be a massive blow to the city, and this will be a very anxious time for staff who work there. We will be doing all we can to try to ensure OVO look at ways to mitigate these job losses.”