German utility Uniper could cut 1,200 jobs in service overhaul

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The logo of German energy utility company Uniper SE is pictured in the company's headquarters in Duesseldorf, Germany, March 10, 2020. REUTERS/Thilo Schmuelgen/File Photo

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  • Job cuts planned in engineering division - Uniper
  • Move will lead to far-reaching job cuts, firm says
  • Plans are slap in the face, says union

DUESSELDORF, Oct 7 (Reuters) - German utility Uniper (UN01.DE) is planning to cut one in 10 jobs over the next few years, the group's works council head said, as it shifts services towards renewables and hydrogen and away from fossil fuel-based power plants, except its own.

Harald Seegatz, who sits on Uniper's supervisory board, said the measures, which include power plant shutdowns, could affect at least 1,200 jobs, or about 10% of the total workforce.

Uniper, in a separate statement, said the restructuring would involve "wide-ranging organizational changes and a significant reduction in headcount including divestment of individual business activities," without giving details.

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The company said affected staff had been informed and it would provide further information on the plans in the first quarter of 2022.

Sources had told Reuters earlier that Uniper, which is majority owned by Finland's Fortum (FORTUM.HE), was preparing major job cuts.

The news was greeted with dismay by the IG BCE union.

"That Uniper SE prepares major cuts as an employer without working through possible future scenarios with labour representatives and the union beforehand is a slap in the face not only for co-determination but also for the affected employees," IG BCE union representative Nadine Bloemers said in a statement.

"We're currently a long way from cooperating in the spirit of a social partnership."

Uniper, which was spun off from E.ON (EONGn.DE) in 2016, has been under pressure to decarbonise in response to Germany's plan to abandon coal as an energy source by 2038 at the latest. Fortum has also outlined a path to drastically reduce CO2 emissions.

The Finnish group, which owns 76% of Uniper, last month said it could free up additional cash to boost its war chest to expand in solar and wind energy assets, a field becoming increasingly crowded with utilities as well as oil majors. read more

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Reporting by Tom Kaeckenhoff Writing by Christoph Steitz Editing by David Goodman and Mark Potter

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