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480 city workers to go in Norwich Union job cuts

PUBLISHED: 15:13 02 April 2009 | UPDATED: 12:18 07 May 2010

Aviva, the parent company of Nrowich Union, is making jobs cuts

Aviva, the parent company of Nrowich Union, is making jobs cuts

Norwich Union Life is to cut 480 jobs in Norwich as part of a nationwide cull of more than 1,000 staff.

This afternoon Aviva, parent company of Norwich Union, confirmed it is expecting to cut 1,100 permanent roles by the end of 2009.

Norwich Union Life is to cut 480 jobs in Norwich as part of a nationwide cull of more than 1,000 staff.

This afternoon Aviva, parent company of Norwich Union, confirmed it is expecting to cut 1,100 permanent roles by the end of 2009.

The Evening News understands from union Unite that includes 226 permanent staff and 254 contract staff in Norwich.

Derek Simpson, the union's joint leader, said: “The announcement by Aviva to cut 1,100 staff will cause alarm across the insurance industry.

“Today we see a scenario where a company that is continuing to deliver positive results is slashing the staff that have enabled them to weather the current financial storm.

“Unite is angry that Aviva is repeating what appears to be an annual exercise of cutting thousands of staff. It is unacceptable that once again shareholders received their full dividends, while the workers who brought the company this success are rewarded with job losses.

“The Aviva workforce is continuing to live under constant uncertainty about their future. Unite has been told that these job losses are unrelated to the economic downturn.”

According to the York Press, Norwich Union, which soon to be renamed Aviva, is shedding 571 posts in York - 15 per cent of its York workforce.

The business change and IT departments in York have been hardest hit, with jobs going at all of the firm's bases in the city.

Of the 571 going in York, 349 are permanent roles and 222 are contracted or agency staff.

Mark Hodges chief executive at Norwich Union Life, said: “Our strategy over the last three years has seen us transform and simplify our business, leaving us well placed to face the challenges ahead.

“We have made significant progress in improving our operational efficiency and are also nearing completion on a series of major change projects. Unfortunately, this means that a reduction in the number of roles in the business is inevitable.

“Making decisions that affect our people is always difficult and we are fully committed to doing everything we possibly can to minimise the number of compulsory redundancies.

"Our priority now is to work with everyone affected by today's announcement and to support them however we can."

Nationwide, 1,100 permanent roles will go by the end of 2009, though Mr Hodges said some of that would be through natural turnover and redeployment. A number of vacancies have also been closed. It is expected there will be about 800 compulsory redundancies and a further 590 contracted positions axed.

The firm is now entering a consultation period with those affected.

Andy Case, national secretary of the Unite union, said they would be engaging with the company to explore ways to keep job cuts to an absolute minimum.

He said: “As with any job cuts we are angry and disappointed. Norwich Union have made lots of jobs cuts over the last few years and it seems to be a relatively good performing company and they have just paid a full dividend to their shareholders so it is very unfortunate that they have made job cuts at this time.”

Are you a Norwich worker who will be affected by the job cuts? Contact reporter Kim Briscoe on 01603 772419 or email kim.briscoe@archant.co.uk

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