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950 jobs lost as Aviva slashes Irish workforce

The numbers are worse than were feared by staff at the insurance company.

Staff outside Aviva headquarters in Dublin today.
Staff outside Aviva headquarters in Dublin today.
Image: Stephen Kilkenny

Updated 11.05am

AVIVA HAS ANNOUNCED that it plans to halve its workforce in Ireland over the next two years which will see 950 redundancies.

The insurance company has said that 180 jobs will go from Aviva Europe which is based in Ireland with 770 redundancies from Aviva Ireland where currently 1,770 are employed.

The redundancies will not come into effect until March 2012. The company said it would endeavour to achieve as many redundancies as possible through voluntary means but no details of a potential redundancy package have been released.

The company has also announced it plans to combine its Irish operation with its one in the UK to form a new “UK and Ireland Region”.

In a statement the trade union representing 1,300 workers, UNITE, said that staff “are in a state of shock” and said “the idea that Ireland is to be subsumed as part of the UK operation is something which we will fight against.”

Aviva said it will look at the feasibility of establishing additional centres of excellence in Ireland to serve customers in the UK which could “potentially mitigate the reduction in roles in Ireland by approximately 200.”

Aviva CEO Igal Mayer said: “The proposed changes to our regional operations will deliver a stronger, leaner business, at the heart of which is a firm focus on meeting our customers’ needs.”

Over 200 staff are employed in each of the Cork and Galway Aviva facilities, an average of six in each of the 26 branches.

The 180 staff at Aviva Europe are based in Dublin as are over 1,200 who work in the Aviva Ireland operation.

“The process of this review has been unnecessarily hard on staff,” UNITE Regional Officer Brian Gallagher said.

“Communication was poor and the key decisions were clearly taken on a multinational basis from London, without due consideration of the impact the uncertainty has had on the workforce and on the reputation of the business in Ireland.”

UNITE said it would scrutinise every aspect of the plan and will meet with staff in Dublin this evening, Galway tomorrow and in Cork on Friday with a meeting with branch staff to take place in Portlaoise on Monday night.

About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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