Thames Water plans to axe a quarter of workforce over four years

The UK’s biggest water company Thames Water has announced plans to axe up to a quarter of its workforce as part of a major cost-cutting drive.

Thames Water plans to cut up to 300 jobs each year until 2010.

The company said it hoped to keep compulsory redundancies to a minimum and would consider voluntary cutbacks.

The GMB union said it would seek to ensure that no frontline jobs were lost and that investment continued despite the huge cutback.

In an e-mail to staff, chief executive Jeremy Pelczer said the move had been taken to guard against “any complacency, towards customer service or efficiency, that may arise because we are a monopoly”.

“As we seek to drive the efficiencies needed to meet our goals, some of them will come through smarter procurement, but some will come from different ways of working which will involve job cuts,” he added.

The company said that it was now in talks with unions and the Department of Trade and Industry about the “potential reductions” in the workforce.

Thames Water has about 13 million customers and employs some 6,000 people. The German-owned company is under fire for failing to hit leakage targets, despite profits rising 31% to £346.5m.

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