Aviva Plc, the world’s fifth largest insurance group, has announced job cuts at its Norwich Union subsidiary as part of its strategy to move 25% of its UK jobs offshore.
The Norwich, UK-based company said it will move 760 jobs to India next year, with 190 moving to Sri Lanka, building on the 3,700 jobs it has already moved. Aviva’s longer term offshore strategy is to increase the number of IT, call center, and back-office jobs in low-cost locations to 7,000 over the next two years.
The job cuts will include 150 compulsory redundancies, which has enraged trade union Amicus. The relationship between the two was fractious enough before the announcement, after the company withdrew permission for the union to communicate details of a survey of Aviva employees which highlighted their fears over the company’s offshore strategy earlier this month.
Now we know why, said Amicus spokesperson Brian Harris. According to Harris, the survey revealed that 99.9% of the 2,000 respondents said that they were concerned about the company’s offshore strategy, and 57% said they had dealt with complaints regarding the performance of offshore workers.
Speaking to ComputerWire, Harris said the company had not involved the union in a proper consultation process as had been agreed, instead giving it only 24 hours notice of the announcement. Industrial action is a possibility, he said. We are seeking talks with the management at Aviva and will consult our members as to which step to take next, he added.
Aviva HR Director John Ainley told ComputerWire that it had conducted the announcement as per an agreement with Amicus, and in a statement the company said: We have a successful track record of redeployment with offshoring and as a result we will minimize the impact of redundancies.
Mark Robinson, an Amicus officer, said: For a company which only a month ago announced profits of 1.1bn pounds [$2.0bn] for just six months [to the end of June 2004] to announce compulsory redundancies is totally unacceptable.