Page last updated at 10:24 GMT, Friday, 6 June 2008 11:24 UK

Aviva to cut 1,800 insurance jobs

Aviva boat
Aviva was formed from the merger of Norwich Union and CGU in 2000.

Aviva, the owner of Norwich Union, will cut up to 1,800 jobs by 2010 as it restructures its insurance operations.

Aviva called the move "rationalisation" but the Unite union described the job cuts as "brutal".

"This news for staff that their jobs are now in jeopardy is truly devastating," United added.

Norwich Union insurance operations will be shifted away from cities including Glasgow, Leeds, Sheffield, Liverpool, Birmingham, Bristol and Southampton.

Offices in Dundee, Basildon, Ipswich, Exeter, and Worthing will also be affected.

However the firm said other parts of its business would still have a presence in those locations.

The bulk of its insurance business will now operate from seven "centres of excellence" based in Norwich, Perth, Bishopbriggs, Stretford, Manchester, Leicester and Southend.

Andy Case of Unite said job losses had become 'a way of life' for Aviva staff.

"We want to deliver excellent, consistent and reliable customer service with market leading efficiency," said the chief executive of Norwich Union Insurance, Igal Mayer.

"To achieve this we will need to fundamentally simplify our business, consolidating our expertise into seven insurance centres of the future in the UK."

Relocation 'inconceivable'

Aviva was formed from the merger of Norwich Union and CGU in 2000.

It provides savings, investments and insurance products.

Earlier this year, Aviva, announced it was ditching the 200-year-old Norwich Union brand to forge a single identity to compete in international markets.

Unite's deputy secretary, Graham Goddard, said Aviva was "rapidly withdrawing" commitment to local communities and was "isolating themselves in a small number of cities".

"The suggestion that employees will be able to relocate appears to be inconceivable for most of those affected," he added.

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