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Last Updated: Thursday, 15 March 2007, 14:11 GMT
Uncertainty for Scots Pru workers
By Nicola McGann
BBC Scotland news website

Staff at Prudential's Scottish base are facing a six-month wait to find out if their jobs are to be axed.

Prudential's Craigforth base at Stirling
More than 2,000 people work at the Craigforth site

The company announced on Thursday that 3,000 of its UK jobs were under review after it raised its UK cost-cutting target to 195m ($375m).

The savings will come from internal cost savings as well as the offshoring and outsourcing of more jobs.

About 2,300 full-time staff are employed at the Pru's Craigforth base on the outskirts of Stirling.

"We are looking at the work of 3,000 people and the importance of the work of those 3,000 people we have yet to determine," said Nick Prettejohn, chief executive of Prudential UK.

"Whether our cost savings come from more offshoring or more outsourcing we have yet to determine."

The Pru have this great catchphrase 'In an uncertain world, we make it possible for everyone to enjoy a certain future' - but we just laugh when we see that
Prudential staff member

The review is expected to be carried out over the next six months.

BBC Scotland understands that employees in the complaints department, based at Craigforth, were told last month that their jobs would be moved to the Pru's centre in Mumbai.

One member of staff, who did not wish to be identified, told BBC Scotland's news website that the company was effectively putting their lives on hold.

She said: "The Pru have this great catchphrase 'In an uncertain world, we make it possible for everyone to enjoy a certain future' - but we just laugh when we see that because that's not how it is for their staff.

"Recently there have been continuous reviews of jobs and we have had to frequently reapply for jobs and go through waiting periods to find out the outcome, so this is almost like business as usual - its part of working at the Pru."

The worker added that the company was holding briefings with staff and sending out e-mail alerts to keep them informed.

However, she said the six month waiting period was stressful.

She said: "My gut feeling is if they are ready to come out and make a statement regarding jobs, they should synchronise that with a plan.

The Prudential building in Stirling
Amicus said about 1,000 jobs at Craigforth may be affected

"Its really stressful to go through this. Your life goes on hold - can you buy a new car, go on holiday, buy a new house?

"You basically can't plan ahead because you don't know whether you are going to have a job or not."

Another employee, who also did not wish to be identified, said: "My partner has been told that he will find out in April if his job is being shipped to Mumbai or being outsourced.

"We have a young baby and don't know whether we will be able to support our family. We have been told for months that our jobs will be "safe" and now this has happened.

"This has not been good news today we have been waiting for this big announcement to clear things up but this has just made things unclear and uncertain."

The Amicus union said it was "greatly concerned" by the company's announcement on Thursday and said it believed about 1,000 jobs at Craigforth could be affected.

Representative Chris Gray said: "The only good thing to come out of today is that the company have been honest about the bigger picture - in the past it has been the trickle effect.

"Obviously the devil is in the detail and that hasn't come out. If they (company) start talking about compulsory redundancies, we will challenge that strongly and hopefully we can avoid that."

We have got about 400 members at Craigforth but we are not allowed access to the site
Chris Gray
Amicus representative

He added that the difficulty with Craigforth was that the union was not recognised there and did not have access to the site - even though it had access to Pru's other UK sites.

"It makes life difficult for us. We have got about 400 members at Craigforth but we are not allowed access to the site - we have tried on a number of occasions but have been turned down," Mr Gray said.

"Hopefully now we can go back to the company in the coming weeks to try to get access and talk to our members there."

The Prudential said on Thursday that it would focus on areas such as annuities and is buying Equitable Life's with-profits annuity portfolio.

The review of its domestic business was launched after Prudential fought off a merger approach from rival Aviva in 2006.

Thursday's announcement came as the company released better-than-expected annual results, with pre-tax operating profits up 15% to 1.98bn.

Do you work for the Prudential? You can e-mail us with your views on the company's announcement at newsonlinescotland@bbc.co.uk.

Prudential's original cost-cutting target was 115m

More Prudential jobs under threat
15 Mar 07 |  Business
Job reprieve for Prudential staff
16 Aug 06 |  Northern Ireland
Prudential profit beats forecasts
16 Mar 06 |  Business
Jobs at risk in Prudential revamp
26 Apr 06 |  Business

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