LONDON: British energy giant Npower today defended its decision to outsource hundreds of UK jobs to India, saying it will lead to “better service” for clients. “We have made the decision to go to India for part of the off-shoring for the back-end office; the front-end office when people call will still get a UK voice that’s still on shore,” said Paul Massara, chief executive of Npower. The firm has been facing a backlash over its recent announcement of off-shoring and closure of offices in Stoke-on-Trent with the loss of around 550 jobs by next June. “But the fact is we can do it cheaper and with better service and the reality is if you think of the likes of M&S, you think of the likes of Scottish Power, you think of the likes of John Lewis, other people, they have already done this and they already get world class service.” “We’ve had to make tough decisions but these tough decisions are the right decision so that we improve customer service and keep costs down because everybody is worrying about the cost of their energy right now,” Massara added. The company had confirmed last week that it would cut nearly 1,460 back-office jobs in the UK, or 15 per cent of its UK-based staff, and move them to India. It is outsourcing a further 540 British call centre jobs to Capita. Massara told ITV’s Daybreak programme that he “feels very sorry for those people” who are losing their jobs. Workers’ union GMB has opposed the off-shoring plans. “GMB will vigorously campaign against the off-shoring of jobs to India because it has absolutely nothing to do with customer service and everything to do with cost,” said GMB northern region senior organizer Colin Smith. Npower have also been forced to write to 3.4 million customers to apologise after a sharp rise in complaints in the last year. UK energy regulator Ofgem said it had been concerned about a “serious deterioration” in customer service levels. British energy companies in general have been under the spotlight over sharply rising bills. The UK government has announced reforms to green levies in a bid to reduce bills and all major providers, referred to as the “big six”, have pledged to pass on the 50 pounds of savings to customers. Republished from Economic Times
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