Energy provider to ‘realign’ engineering arm putting 1,100 jobs at risk

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Some 1,100 jobs could be lost after energy supply firm Uniper revealed plans to close large part of of its engineering services function.

Uniper’s engineering arm provides services both to its own fleet and its customers’, across a range of power generation technologies. It has around 1,100 employees, with staff based in Germany as well as the UK – in Birmingham Hams Hall and Ratcliffe on Soar.

Uniper says its engineering function has not yet achieved an independent financial contribution to group results. A statement from the firm said: “Taking into account a difficult service market environment and a disadvantageous cost position, the recent review determined that an Engineering function in its current setup, will be unable to meet Uniper’s future strategic and financial expectations.

“The implementation of these plans will involve wide-ranging organisational changes and regrettably, a significant reduction in the number of employees.”

Uniper plans to realign the engineering competencies as a whole and to divest its Power Engineering Services arm, based at Hams Hall, Birmingham. In addition, the Uniper Engineering Academy, based at Ratcliffe on Soar will close during 2022 and Uniper will work with its customers and apprentices to transfer training to other providers, as appropriate.

The plans mean that the company’s engineering arm will be solely focused on Uniper’s own asset operation and its growth priorities of decarbonisation and green customer solutions. Its customer activities will concentrate on hydrogen, renewable energies, industrial customer solutions (ICS), and net zero solutions.

The Service business, working with the conventional energy sector, will be discontinued and limited to engineering services for operators of nuclear facilities as a new strategic business area. All ongoing projects will be finalised and closed out as contractually agreed or via suitable alternative arrangements, still to be agreed. Uniper says its customers will be approached “in due course” about the potential impact of the plans on existing co-operations.

The statement added: “We’ve now briefed our employees and our recognised Trade Unions on the announcement, and what it means for them at this time. Over the next few months, we will work on the details of the organisational changes and the process for their implementation in close coordination with our recognised trade union representatives. We expect to be able to have more information in the first quarter of 2022.”

Uniper SE chief operating officer, David Bryson, said: “We are making these decisions with all due respect for the affected employees’ performance and in the awareness that they will be accompanied by far-reaching individual consequences and personal changes. We, the Uniper board of management, and the management teams of the affected units will ensure, in close cooperation with Employee Forums, that a fair process is set up to achieve these necessary changes whilst avoiding hardships where possible. However, we are taking these steps in order to realign engineering competencies for a sustainable future within Uniper. In this way, we are following our decarbonisation strategy, in the interests of our own assets and our customers.”