Tokyo Electric Power Co. is looking to shed 1,000 jobs through a voluntary redundancy program to boost efficiency and improve earnings, sources revealed Saturday.
Aiming to invite applications by the autumn of 2014, Tepco will shortly propose the idea to its labor union, the sources said. It would be the first program of its kind implemented by the utility.
The operator of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power station will include the redundancy program in its comprehensive business plan to be revised possibly by the end of the year, according to the sources.
Tepco’s existing business plan, which was approved by the government in May 2012, calls for slashing 3,600 jobs in its parent group to reduce the workforce to 36,000 by the end of March. The utility is believed to have almost achieved this target by curbing employment of new graduates.
But the company still needs to show it is stepping up streamlining efforts to gain financial support from the government for decontamination of areas polluted by the wrecked reactors of the Fukushima No. 1 plant, the sources said. The facility suffered three core meltdowns in March 2011.
By further cutting fixed costs, Tepco also hopes to smooth the way for additional loans totalling some ¥500 billion, including for refinancing purposes, that it hopes to receive next month from various financial institutions, the sources said.
Under the revised business plan, Tepco will pledge to abolish all of its 10 branches and shift to a holding company structure as early as fiscal 2016. In addition, it is expected to show readiness to lower electricity rates if reactors at Tepco’s Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant in Niigata Prefecture are reactivated, the sources said.