1,000 job losses announced

ROYAL & Sun Alliance is to cut about 1,000 jobs in the UK as it steps up its cost-cutting drive, the company announced today.The group, which has a major office on the corner of Museum Street and Princes Street, Ipswich, last year slashed 1,200 posts nationally as part of a drive to cut costs.

ROYAL & Sun Alliance is to cut about 1,000 jobs in the UK as it steps up its cost-cutting drive, the company announced today.

The group, which has a major office on the corner of Museum Street and Princes Street, Ipswich, last year slashed 1,200 posts nationally as part of a drive to cut costs.

Today's announcement was to increase its cost-saving targets to an annual figure of £270 million.

No decision has yet been made as to where the axe will fall and workers in Ipswich would be playing the waiting game to see if their jobs were safe.

The news emerged as the company unveiled a 17 per cent rise in first half profits and launched a £960 million cash call.

Roger Lyons, joint general secretary of the union Amicus, said: "The loss of 1,000 jobs is disastrous in any industry and we will be seeking to mitigate that as much as possible."

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He claimed parts of the "more than' car breakdown service were being outsourced to India as part of the changes.

"There is a growing mistrust between the public and the big financial companies.

"These cuts and the decision to outsource parts of the more than brand to India will deepen that rift,' added Mr Lyons.

A spokesman said the company hoped to avoid redundancies and transfer staff to other operators.

A similar process announced earlier this year saw staff from its UK life and pensions business transferred to Unisys Insurance Services.

The spokesman said: "This isn't a question of redundancies, this is a question of looking at outsourcing options.'

Meanwhile Royal & Sun Alliance disclosed that operating profits for the first six months of 2003 had risen to £351 million from £301 million a year ago as underwriting profits from insurance improved.

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