Finance firm escapes job cuts

STAFF at a finance firm in Ipswich are breathing a sigh of relief today after it emerged the branch will not be axed as part of a raft of cutbacks.However workers at an insurance company in the town are facing a less clear future after guarantees could not be given about their jobs.

STAFF at a finance firm in Ipswich are breathing a sigh of relief today after it emerged the branch will not be axed as part of a raft of cutbacks.

However workers at an insurance company in the town are facing a less clear future after guarantees could not be given about their jobs.

Finance giants Cheltenham & Gloucester (C&G) and insurers Royal & Sun Alliance have both chosen today to announce huge cutbacks across the country.

C&G, which has a branch in Butter Market and is owned by Lloyds TSB, is set to close 31 branches and further closures could follow, according to union officials.

Meanwhile Royal & Sun Alliance, which employs 18 people at its Museum Street offices, said today it plans to cut 700 jobs, including an estimated 500 positions in the UK.

It is understood that the Ipswich branch of the Cheltenham & Gloucester will be unaffected by the cuts however one or two roles could be moved from the town.

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Royal & Sun Alliance has said it is yet to be decided where the axe will fall.

A spokeswoman for the C&G said no official announcement on the situation will be made until staff have been informed.

But according to Steve Tatlow, assistant general secretary of the Lloyds TSB Group Union, today's announcement could be the first wave of cuts as the firm looks to cut costs.

The Unite union said the closure of so many branches would be "excessive".

Unite official John Bancroft said: "We will oppose any compulsory job losses and will continue to challenge the business rationale for this decision.

“We believe local branches are the financial lifeblood of the company.”

A spokesman for Royal & Sun Alliance said it is too early to say whether any of the company's 18 staff in Ipswich will be affected by the planned cutbacks.

The spokesman said: “We are not looking to close any offices at all as part of this.

“There will be job reductions throughout the UK but we are committed to working with unions to minimise any compulsory redundancies wherever possible.”

Are you affected by one of today's announcements? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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