Labour politicians from across the region are uniting to oppose the attempted takeover of Dee Valley Water by Severn Trent Water.
They have said job security was of the utmost importance and Severn Trent have failed to offer assurance to the Rhostyllen-based workers.
Wrexham Labour Councillors and local MPs Susan Elan Jones and Ian Lucas, along with Chester MP Chris Matheson, said:
“Dee Valley water currently employs 180 committed, loyal staff who deserve to be assured their jobs are safe in any takeover.
“They haven’t been given that guarantee by Severn Trent. Indeed, it appears jobs would go from Wales, with employees having to apply for opportunities across the border. That would mean them having to commute to Shrewsbury at best, or even further afield to Coventry or another Severn Trent site far away from where the current headquarters are in Rhostyllen.
“Dee Valley Water also operate the best customer services in the water sector, having come top of the league for the past two years. Severn Trent’s claim that they’d improve customer service, when they are trailing Dee Valley is very unconvincing. Severn Trent claim they offer better working practices, yet contract out a lot of their work. They say they’d operate better procurement and lower costs of finance, yet the fact is that their prices are higher and customer service worse than Dee Valley’s.”
Currently, household bills for Severn Trent customers average £174 compared to Dee Valley’s £126, which have fallen by £7 in the past year. In terms of customer complaints, Severn Trent have averaged 44 complaints per 10,000 customers, compared to just 29.6 for Dee Valley Water.
The Labour campaigners said:
“The evidence is clear: Dee Valley is far better for customers, both in terms of the service they receive and the bills they pay. A local workforce is highly responsive, especially for customers who have long standing contacts within the company and rely on a personalised service.
“In addition, while Severn Trent say they’d retain front line technical staff, it is unclear whether these skilled workers would end up being contracted out.
“We fear the takeover will lead to the loss of a great local company and the removal of key jobs from the regional economy.
“The takeover attempt is bad for the water sector, bad for the workforce, bad for customers and bad for Wales.
“It is an example of bad capitalism, where workers and customers are of secondary concern to profits.
“We will stand alongside the loyal workers of this fantastic local company and oppose any takeover that will leave them and customers worse off.”