Deluge of water industry job cuts continues

The torrent of job losses in the water industry has continued with the announcement by Welsh Water group Hyder and South West Water of 1,200 job cuts.

Hyder said it would cut 1,000 jobs in its water and electricity operations by April, while Pennon Group announced 200 cuts at its South West Water business.

Both companies said price control imposed by regulators had contributed to the cuts.

But union leaders said the flood of job cuts was designed to protect companies' profits.

Transport and General Workers Union national officer Chris Kaufman said: "The daily catalogue of job losses is turning into a grotesque new form of water torture.

"The victims are the water workers, communities, and the environment, while fat profits in the main are protected.

"Serious questions must now be asked of a government which looks the other way as jobs are sacrificed at the altar of shareholders' dividends."

The latest cuts follow the 400 job losses announced on Wednesday by Anglian Water, the 500 losses announced by Yorkshire Water on Tuesday, and 1,100 cuts announced by Severn Trent last week.

Another water and energy group, United Utilities, is due to announce its half year results on Friday - and unions fear the jobs toll in the utilities sector will rise higher still.

Hyder chief executive Graham Hawker said the group's 1,000 job losses would be spread across all the company's divisions, with 350 already having been agreed with unions earlier this year.

The remaining 650 jobs would be shed by the end of the group's financial year, and would reduce the group's total workforce to about 4,200.

The Cardiff-based company runs both Welsh Water and the electricity business Swalec.