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Thames denies job cuts will hit leak work

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THAMES WATER denied that its plans to cut staff numbers would stop it from meeting leak reduction targets at this week's Labour conference.

'We have been scaling down for a while now. This time last year we were operational in 26 countries so the areas we are cutting back are international and back office functions, ' said environment director Richard Aylard.

His comments came at a Labour conference fringe meeting and came after Unison regional manager Steve Stott expressed concern that the staff reductions would hit the company's performance.

'We are concerned that Thames, which is the highest water waster in the country, has told unions that it is losing up to 25% of its staff.

'For public consumption that sounds ridiculous. I am not sure that sending those sorts of messages is the right way to gain support for any proposals that you might have, ' he said.

Last year Thames lost 895Ml/ day and was ordered by regulator Ofwat to spend a further £150M on pipe replacement after missing leak reduction targets (NCE 6 July).

But Aylard denied that any of the losses would be in the teams tackling this. 'None of the scaling down is of leakage or operational staff, ' he said.

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