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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 September 2005, 11:05 GMT 12:05 UK
CIS sales workers to stage strike
CIS headquarters
Co-op insurance salesmen to strike for two days over new contracts
Cooperative Insurance (CIS) staff are set to stage a strike in a row over new contracts - the first strike by CIS workers in 35 years.

The walkout, by 2,000 financial sales staff at the Manchester-based group, will take place on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Trade union Usdaw claims the new job contracts will leave workers worse off.

CIS says the new deal will preserve the long-term future of the sales force as well as help to expand the business.

Under the plans, CIS has switched the collection of premiums and payment deliveries to a central administrative staff - work that previously took up between 40% and 50% of its sales force's time.

A minority of people with vested interests are trying to hold the business to ransom
Stephan Pater, CIS chief operating officer

Jobs shake-up

As a result, the insurer has now asked the financial advisors - part of the last significant direct sales force employed in the insurance industry - to spend the 'extra time' they now have selling more financial policies.

In the last few years rivals like the Prudential, Pearl and Liverpool Victoria have stopped selling door-to-door because it has become uneconomic.

"We fundamentally believe this will give us a competitive advantage as this service is now unique in the industry," CIS spokesman Russ Brady said of the new working process.

However, Usdaw claims the new contracts will leave the staff 30% worse off - with the alternative being dismissal if they do not sign by October 17th.

However, the CIS said it was "disappointed" that its workers had chosen to take industrial action and has rejected the idea of arbitration.

"A minority of people with vested interests are trying to hold the business to ransom. Our proposals are the only means of securing a successful and long-term future for our sales force," chief operating officer Stephan Pater said.




SEE ALSO:
Co-op Insurance cuts 2,000 jobs
14 Jul 04 |  Business
Co-op Financial Service lose jobs
27 Feb 04 |  Manchester
Bank to recruit 500 service staff
05 Feb 04 |  Manchester
Co-op trumpets ethical dividend
06 May 03 |  Business


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