The cuts, which the company has told unions could be achieved through a voluntary redundancy scheme, are likely to affect mainly blue-collar workers in the key regulated water operation. Shop stewards were informed of the job cuts during meetings with senior management yesterday, though union sources said the final figure was lower than the 400 originally expected.
"To be fair to the company this could have been a lot worse, though we obviously would have preferred no job losses at all. They will be phased until the end of 1998 and Anglian's redundancy package is fairly generous," said a union official.
Last November Alan Smith, Anglian's group managing director, had raised the possibility of additional job cuts on top of the 900 made since the group's strategic systems review programme was launched in 1994. The previous cuts had hit junior and middle management, as well as manual employees.
The latest round of job losses comes despite the continuing surge in Anglian's profits, which rose by 5.5 per cent in the first half of last year to pounds 133m. The company also raised its dividend payout to shareholders, all of which comes from the core regulated water and sewerage business, by 14.6 per cent. At the same time it surprised analysts by revealing a jump in losses from its non-regulated contracting and engineering businesses.