Hundreds of Southern Water staff are set to lose their jobs as part of a change to its business structure.
According to the trade union Unison, 220 Customer Service staff at Southern Water have been told that their work will transfer to Capita on August 1, with a small number of staff remaining in the business.
Southern Water's headquarters are in Worthing, and it is a major employer in the area. It is not currently clear how many staff from Worthing are among the 220 affected.
A statement from Unison said that Southern Water have started a 45 day consultation about the transfer of work. As Capita is based in Rotherham and Bangalore, they will have to consult for up to 45 days with up to 200 staff who will be made redundant after the transfer, the statement said.
Capita will take over the work in stages until the end of October so staff will be made redundant in stages over the 3 months period after the transfer.
Unison regional organiser Caroline Fife said “ At the meeting yesterday staff were upset, shocked and angry about this news. They don’t know which group of staff they are in and what is going to happen. Given the short timescale they want to know what is going to happen when and what money they will receive so they can plan their lives.
"A number of staff have less than 2 years service so they will not be eligible to get any redundancy pay. Unison will be trying to provide support to staff over the next few weeks”.
Staff will be given more information on Monday, according to a Unison statement.
When approached by the Herald on Thursday, Southern Water would not confirm the number of redundancies made.
Instead, they sent the following statement, which they have also posted on their website:
"Southern Water is two years into a challenging business transformation programme.
"We are making good progress and have delivered our best ever customer service score in the water industry league table. We’ve created more than 100 jobs in our IT department by bringing the service in house.
"These positive improvements have been recognised by our regulators.
"However, there is more to do and the changes we are making will ensure our customer service remains fit for the future and meets our customers’ expectations, while keeping bills affordable and meeting the efficiency challenge set out by our regulator, Ofwat."