Energy giant npower has announced it will close its remaining office in a North East town, affecting hundreds of jobs.
The company is to close its office in Peterlee, but the vast majority of the 500 jobs will be transferred to Sunderland.
A dozen employees’ jobs hang in the balance as their work has been moved to Burton-on-Trent.
The GMB union, however, said members were facing “compulsory relocation” and described the news as a “hammer blow” for the town.
Senior organiser Chris Jukes said: “This is obviously a very worrying time for those affected by the relocation and is further bad news for Peterlee, which has been hit by previous closures.
“This was predicted when npower announced they were offshoring work, and it is ironic the company is yet again referring to improving customer service, when the opposite is happening.”
An npower spokesman said: “Earlier this year, npower’s Wear House site transferred over to Capita. As previously announced, Tees House is due to close shortly, with the employees based there either transferring over to Capita under TUPE, or moving up to our North East Headquarters in Rainton Bridge at Houghton Le Spring.
“Today, we announced that we would also be closing Tyne House in Peterlee – affecting around 500 people. The vast majority of these employees will also be based at Rainton allowing npower to consolidate all its North East locations to this one site, bringing its customer service teams together, ensuring quicker and more effective decision making for our customers. For the employees, Rainton is only an additional 10 miles and they will receive excess travel costs for the next three years.”