Eastern to cut 200 more jobs

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EASTERN ELECTRICITY, the largest regional electricity distribution company, said yesterday that it is to cut up to 200 jobs in addition to the 890 applications for voluntary redundancy already accepted, writes Tom Stevenson.

When the company announced interim results in December, it said it was seeking 450 job losses from a total workforce of nearly 10,000. It had received more applications than expected.

Half the cuts will be from the customer services department, which is consolidating its operations from 10 small sites to two bigger centres in Bedford and Rayleigh, Essex, providing a 24- hour enquiry service. The rest form part of a reduction of the personnel and corporate affairs departments from 350 to 250.

Eastern says it will make efforts to redeploy staff who are affected by the cutbacks but warned employees that it would only be able to help those prepared to move to different locations and who would agree to do different jobs.

The cuts are part of a programme to improve customer services at Eastern, costing pounds 11m. The company thinks the cuts will provide savings of about pounds 4m a year.