Staff worries over jobs overseas

THOUSANDS of Norwich Union staff go to work each day worried that their jobs will be shifted overseas, according to new figures released this week.A survey of almost 2,000 NU employees by trade union Amicus found that 99.

THOUSANDS of Norwich Union staff go to work each day worried that their jobs will be shifted overseas, according to new figures released this week.

A survey of almost 2,000 NU employees by trade union Amicus found that 99.9pc of staff fear the company, which has offices in Crown Street, Ipswich, wants to move more work abroad to companies like India and Sri Lanka.

In December last year it was announced there would be job losses in Ipswich as NU moved work elsewhere, with an estimated 50 posts due to be affected.

This week's survey was carried out in response to recent changes at the insurance giant, with 3,200 UK jobs either axed or moved abroad since December 2003.


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By the end of 2004 NU plans to have 3,700 employees in India, and 25 administrative finance jobs have already gone from Norwich to Sri Lanka as part of a pilot scheme to expand there.

Amicus national officer Dave Fleming said: "The results of our survey are no surprise to the union. "99.9pc of staff replying say that they fear further job cuts, 78pc of staff have security of employment issues and 93pc of staff think that Norwich Union made the decision to offshore for short-term gains - the figures speak for themselves."

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"We have been telling the company for sometime that their staff are opposed to offshoring but the company have chosen to ignore our advice."

Norwich Union said it recognised that staff at its UK sites – which include Norwich, York, Stevenage and Perth as well as Ipswich – were worried about jobs going abroad.

Spokesman Louise Zucchi said: "Of course we understand why people are worried about their jobs, and we are trying to do what we can to minimise that.

"But they have to realise that we need to run the business in a cost effective way. If we don't then jobs will be at risk anyway."

The release of the Amicus survey coincides with a recruitment drive by the union, which will today hand out leaflets and recruitment forms to staff as they arrive to work.

Amicus claims NU is trying to prevent staff joining the union, but the company says the action is outside the terms of an agreement between the two and that is already setting up elected staff forums.

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