150 jobs axed at Norwich Union

PUBLISHED: 14:05 21 September 2006 | UPDATED: 10:54 06 May 2010

Norwich Union in Stevenage

Norwich Union in Stevenage

SCORES of jobs are set to go at Norwich Union in Stevenage by the end of next year. Thousands of jobs will go throughout the country with the site in Gunnels Wood Road branch losing 150 posts. The changes will result in a reduction of around 4,000 roles

SCORES of jobs are set to go at Norwich Union in Stevenage by the end of next year.

Thousands of jobs will go throughout the country with the site in Gunnels Wood Road branch losing 150 posts.

The changes will result in a reduction of around 4,000 roles across the UK, half of which are anticipated to be through compulsory redundancies.

Of the reductions, around 1,000 operational roles will be offshored to India in line with existing plans already announced, while around 500 IT roles will be outsourced to third party suppliers.

Norwich Union executive chairman Patrick Snowball said: "We have to ensure that Norwich Union remains a highly efficient and successful company in what is an increasingly competitive and dynamic environment.

"Customers' buying habits are changing rapidly as technology becomes more accessible, demonstrated by the fact that 50 per cent of our new direct motor insurance policies are now bought online.

"Consumers, independent financial advisors and brokers are increasingly operating in a self-service world and we have to continue to respond to this.

"We recognise that tough decisions such as these are difficult for the people affected but they are absolutely necessary. We will look for every opportunity to redeploy staff in new roles and we will ensure those affected get specialist career advice."

Richard Howitt, one of the MEPs for the eastern region, said: "This is a shocking decision, affecting Stevenage workers and their families. I will be working with the workers' union over the coming days and weeks to ask some tough questions, and see whether this decision should be challenged."

Stevenage MP Barbara Follett offered her support to Norwich Union workers. She said: "Though I understand the reasons behind these job losses I know, from my own experience, just how difficult this will be for the workers and families who will have been affected by this announcement.

"I will make every effort to work closely with the Norwich Union management to ensure that these changes are implemented smoothly and employees are treated fairly."

A spokesman for the East of England Development Agency said: "It is always a difficult time when job losses are announced, but EEDA is working hard to investigate ways in which we can be of assistance.

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