Owners of British Gas, Centrica have announced plans to cut 6,000 jobs from the UK workforce. The company simultaneously announced that it is to create 2,000 jobs in areas where the company is expanding, meaning that the net reduction in jobs will be about 4,000; this represents more than 10% of the company's current 37,500 UK workforce. The job cuts follow the news that British Gas profits for its residential business rose to GBP 528 million, although the profits for the Centrica group dropped by GBP 3% to 1 billion, which was mainly the result of the fall in the global price of oil.
The timetable for both job losses and job creation has not been reported. The company did note that it expects around half of the job losses to be achieved through redundancy. The GMB union welcomed the creation of the new posts, most of which will be high-quality posts which involve installing and maintaining metres. The union argued that the focus on customer service meant that it was 'optimistic' about the future of customer facing, front line jobs.
UPDATE 20/04/2016: It has been announced that British Gas is to close it call centre in Oldbury in the West Midlands. The closure will lead to the loss of 684 jobs. The job losses form part of the larger restructure announced by parent company Centrica in 2015. The company confirmed that the call centre was an area which could be cut as customer preference for online contact has grown, though it is understood that three other call centres will continue to operate. Given the overall target for job reduction set out in the earlier announcement, it is clear that details of further cuts can be expected over the coming months.