Change of heart for power company

HUNDREDS of Ipswich workers who fell victim to sweeping job cuts last year will today discover their former employer is to recruit new staff in the town.

HUNDREDS of Ipswich workers who fell victim to sweeping job cuts last year will today discover their former employer is to recruit new staff in the town.

When energy firm Powergen staged a take-over of TXU Energi in late 2002, company bosses promised it would not be forcing compulsory redundancies.

But by January 2003, 700 workers were told they would be losing their jobs.

The news was greeted with a mixture of disbelief and anger as workers were first told they would not be forced out and then that they would.

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The Evening Star had to change it's front page story between editions on January 22 last year as in the morning we were told there would be no compulsory cuts, but by the afternoon Powergen managers admitted hundreds of staff would have to go.

Now a recruitment drive for 60 jobs in the business sales department of the company will begin and is likely to be met with mixed reactions from former employees.

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The 700 redundancies were all administrative roles within the company, while the new positions will mainly be sales advisors, with three managerial posts.

A spokeswoman for Powergen said the company had chosen to recruit in Ipswich as part of its commitment to the town and it hoped people would have put the disappointment of the past behind them. She said it would not have been possible to retain some of the former staff and re-trained them for these new jobs.

"They could have been re-trained if we had known about this at the time, but there wasn't the need for these jobs a year ago," she said.

"But now we have decided to bring these jobs to Ipswich and we're hoping the people of the town will see it as a positive move.

"We didn't have a need for these jobs then but we do now, and that's it in a nutshell.

"We would understand if people feel a bit bitter towards us since the acquisition but it (the redundancies) is one of those things that had to happen."

All positions will be based at the company's Wherstead Park offices and the sales advisor positions will offer a salary of just under £13,000.

Ipswich MP Chris Mole, who reacted furiously when the job cuts were announced, has said the new recruitment drive should be welcomed.

"It is good if they are recruiting again because I think everyone believed they would pull out of Ipswich.

"I think it has to be good – it is good if they are recruiting and growing their commitment to the business here.

"I think many of the people who did lose their jobs have been able to find other employment although I'm sure there must be a few that will be surprised to hear they are recruiting again."

How do you feel about the new jobs at Powergen? Write in to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail or visit the forum at

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