Yorkshire Water has made a commitment not to use the Government’s furlough scheme for any of its employees and will retain all staff during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Government designated water company employees as key workers during the Covid-19 pandemic, as they carry out essential work to maintain and repair the water and sewerage systems. With thousands of staff members carrying out vital work, Yorkshire Water is reassuring its employees that it will support them through the crisis and will not be applying for support under the Government’s furlough scheme.
The company has also said that they would like to avoid putting any additional strain on the taxpayer-funded scheme, to ensure that customers do not end up ‘paying twice’ for their water and sanitation services.
Yorkshire Water has reorganised its operations to ensure that it continues to maintain water and sanitation services to millions of people during the crisis. Its customer contact centre has been overhauled to allow staff to work from home and it has transformed the operation of its central control room, which manages the water and sewerage network and treatment plants, so that there is only a few key colleagues on site, with the rest working remotely. Well-established contingency plans have also meant many office-based staff are able to work from home.
While Government social distancing rules mean that employees are no longer entering customers’ homes for routine work, those wearing appropriate personal protection equipment (PPE) can still perform emergency repairs if necessary. Hundreds of workers are also carrying out essential maintenance and repair work on the water and sewerage network, a key part of the sectors’ role in protecting public health.
Yorkshire Water is also continuing to offer support to customers who are facing financial difficulties as a result of the crisis, including special tariffs and payment holidays. As a big local employer with a large supply chain, it has been taking steps to support its network of suppliers and wider regional economies by recently introducing immediate payment terms for smaller businesses to help ease financial pressures.
Chief Executive of Yorkshire Water, Liz Barber said: “I am in awe of the way that our communities and colleagues have come together during this crisis. We have changed how we work in countless ways, to ensure that we can continue to deliver a high level of service for all our customers.
I am making a heartfelt promise to reassure all staff that we will not be using the Government’s furlough scheme or making any staffing reductions in this period. I would also like to thank all of our employees for working harder than ever to keep Yorkshire’s water flowing.”