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Last Updated: Tuesday, 15 July, 2003, 11:38 GMT 12:38 UK
Norwich Union cuts 900 jobs
Sentinel House
Jobs will go at the Norwich offices
Insurance company Norwich Union is to shed nearly 900 jobs across the UK.

Six hundred will go at the company's general insurance arm - 300 of them at its headquarters in Norwich. A spokeswoman for the firm said around half the losses would be compulsory.

The firm's life and pensions division will also close its Cheadle branch near Manchester with the loss of a further 280 jobs.

The company is part of insurance giant Aviva, formerly CGNU.

'Competitive market'

Norwich Union's offices in Perth, in Scotland, and Worthing, West Sussex, will also be affected.

If there is a hint that these jobs are being exported, we will certainly come down on them as hard as we can
Brian Harris, Amicus
Norwich Union recently announced a cut in the value of its customers' with-profits policies.

Norwich Union director Patrick Snowball said: "We operate in an extremely competitive market and have to continually look at ways to achieve greater efficiency and effectiveness.

"Making decisions that affect our staff is always difficult, but we believe these changes are necessary to adapt to changing market conditions and make our business fit for the future."

Aviva said the Cheadle operation will be closed by the end of March 2004.

Union reaction

Brian Harris, of union Amicus, said: "We are disappointed that the company has made this announcement, which includes nearly 600 compulsory redundancies."

He said Amicus would be pushing the company to redeploy as many people as possible within the business.

Aviva came under fire from unions earlier this year after it shifted 400 jobs from the UK to a new call centre in Bangalore, India.

The company has said its Indian operation would employ 1,000 people by the end of 2003, mainly processing general insurance claims.

Exporting jobs

It stressed on Tuesday that the job cut announcements were in administration and not connected to the Indian call centre.

But Brian Harris said unions would be monitoring the situation closely.

"If there is a hint that these jobs are being exported, we will certainly come down on them as hard as we can.

"But so far there is no indication that this is the case," he told BBC News Online.

Norwich Union cuts policy values
24 Jun 03  |  Business

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