Monday 22 January 2018

Aviva staff arrive to hear their fate as 1,100 job cuts likely today

Siobhan Creaton

STAFF at insurance giant Aviva were arriving at the company’s Dublin office today braced for the announcement of up to 1,100 job losses.

Up to 850 job cuts and the possibility of another 300 are in prospect although no details are yet available as to whether they are voluntary or compulsary.

The company employs 2,000 people in Ireland.

Staff at the Dublin, Cork and Galway offices are expected to be briefed at 10am.

Last night sources suggested Aviva would announce the closure of its European headquarters that are based in Dublin where it employs 250 staff. This business will be relocated to London.

The other losses will come from its Irish general and life assurance businesses.

There were also suggestions last night that the company's health insurance business won't be as badly hit as it is continuing to perform well here. There is even hope Aviva will announce the creation of up to 100 new jobs in that business.

Aviva's general and life assurance businesses are struggling in line with the difficult economic conditions here and are expected to bear the brunt of the job losses.

The 300 jobs that are to be outsourced could be transferred to Aviva's service centres in the UK.

Jobs Minister Richard Bruton has met with company executives in recent weeks and has asked IDA Ireland and the other jobs agencies to work with Aviva to offset the scale of the job cuts.

As part of these efforts the company was being encouraged to outsource any jobs that are to be axed to another Irish-based company providing opportunities for Aviva staff.

The job cuts come on foot of a review of Aviva's business in Ireland by the group's chief executive Andrew Moss and the head of its European operations Igal Mayer codenamed 'Operation Accelerate'.

Mr Moss recently said there is a "culture of entitlement" in Ireland that had to change. He said Aviva was paying its Irish employees 20pc more than those in the UK. "That's not sustainable," he said.


The company has also moved its Irish assets out of Irish government bonds into French and German government bonds, Mr Moss said.

The decisions about the Irish business are being taken above the heads of its Irish operations.

Up to 1,300 of the 2,000 staff are represented by the Unite union.

Its regional officer Brian Gallagher has said "morale was on the floor" as speculation about potential massive job cuts has continued since February.

Many of the company's senior executives in Ireland have already left the company or are in the process of concluding departure deals with Aviva. The former head of its Irish operations, Stuart Purdy, left the group earlier this year.

The review is likely to see what is left of the Irish business being effectively run from the UK as it more closely integrates some of the functions here with that business.

Aviva is one of the biggest insurers in Ireland and the most high-profile following its 10-year, €40m sponsorship deal for naming rights at Lansdowne Road stadium.

Irish Independent

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