Thursday, 17 November 2016

Takeover of Dee Valley Water by Severn Trent challenged

Water services in Wales are best delivered here in Wales - 
not from Coventry

Plaid Cymru AM Llyr Gruffydd has urged OFWAT, the water regulator, to investigate the proposed takeover of Dee Valley Water by Severn Trent Water.
Mr Gruffydd, Plaid Cymru's North Wales Assembly Member, said:
"This proposed takeover raises several serious questions regarding jobs and services in north Wales. It has happened without consultation with the workforce, local community representatives and flies in the face of recent UK Government claims about handing over powers on water back to Wales.
"The specific issues that Severn Trent have to answer are:
- guarantees that the jobs of the 190 Dee Valley Water employees will be maintained here in north Wales and not re-located to West Midlands or elsewhere.
- guarantees to local companies such as Huws Gray, Dependable Concrete, Griffiths Tool Hire and Eco-Readymix, who are part of Dee Valley Water's existing supply chain to service their operational activity in the Wrexham and Chester areas.
- guarantees about the pensions of existing employees
- assurances about the Living Wage. Dee Valley Water is an accredited Living Wage employee whereas Severn Trent is not.
"Dee Valley Water is a Welsh company with a long history going back to 1864 when it was founded in Wrexham and it has deep roots in the local area. It it an important part of the community in terms of its sponsorship and engagement as well as providing a service and good employment.
"I am writing to OFWAT to investigate the takeover proposal and also contacting Severn Trent about the concerns raised by Dee Valley workers in the wake of this news. It's a very worrying development."

UPDATE: Severn Valley's takeover document makes it clear that:

- Dee Valley will be delisted and closed as a separate entity
- office workers will be expected to transfer to other Severn-Trent offices, the nearest of which is Shrewsbury
- procurement will be managed centrally, which means that local suppliers will lose out.

The takeover has been recommended by the board of directors to DVW's shareholders, the largest of which are pension firms with no local links. An EGM will be held in December. It's necessary for 75% of shareholders present on the day to vote the takeover through.

Llyr Gruffydd said:
"Dee Valley Water covers parts of Wrexham, Denbighshire and Flintshire as well as Chester and it's vital that the good customer service for which it's renowned is not lost.
"The takeover document makes it clear that local suppliers will lose out under Severn-Trent's procurement policy and it's unclear what the future holds for existing staff. This is not acceptable and Plaid Cymru locally and nationally will be making that clear to both companies. Water services in Wales are best delivered here in Wales - not from Coventry."

FURTHER UPDATE: We have been told that the Extraordinary General Meeting takes place on December 21st.

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