ENERGY giant Npower is to axe up to 2500 jobs in another "devastating blow" to workers in the North of England.
The German-owned company is expected to announce the cull, which amounts to one fifth of its workforce, in the next few days.
The huge loss from its 11500-strong UK workforce will hit the north of England and other areas.
It comes after the firm's owners RWE last month revealed it will slump into the red after taking a & pound; 1.6billion hit on its UK and German power stations.
Writedowns on the company's power stations and lower energy prices are executed to lead the group to post an annual loss of around & pound; 155million when it reports its results.
Critics said workers are now paying for poor decision made at the top.
Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said: "These huge job losses will come as a devastating blow to the workforce.
" Npower has been in trouble for some time thanks to poor decision-making at the very top, and workers are now paying the price.
"The company's failure to invest properly in new systems has left it with one of the worst customer service records in the business.
" The news suggests that npower's German owner is not terribly committed to its UK operations.
"Cutting a fifth of the workforce will leave the already struggling business in an even worse state.
" Now months of uncertainly lie ahead for a workforce whose morale is already at rock bottom. "
After thousands of steel industry job losses in the north of the country, critics said it blew another hole in George Osborne's plan for a so-called nothern powerhouse.use this
Eamon O'Hearn, of the GMB union, said: "Many hard-working staff have already been outsourced and so any further job losses for directly and indirectly employed staff would beanother kick in the teeth for communities.
"It also makes a mockery of George Osborne's rhetoric about a northern powerhouse if an energy company can not maintain jobs in the region."
Npower has major plants in the UK including Pembroke and Aberthaw in Wales and Staythorpe in Nottinghamshire.
Last month the firm's power station at Didcot in Oxfordshire collapsedas it was being prepared for demolition, killing one worker, with three still missing.