Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/455/5562
The Socialist 21 September 2006 |
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Norwich Union dumps another 4,000 workers
NORWICH UNION is dumping another 4,000 workers, half of which will be
By a Norwich Union worker
For the second time in three years, workers woke up to the news with
no prior warning from the company that their jobs were to go. Then
company bosses had the nerve to tell furious staff not to speak to the
An internal memo from incoming Chairman Patrick Snowball showed the
lack of regard for the feelings of workers: "Today we are announcing the
outcome of a business review across Norwich Union, which will lead to
cost savings of £250 million from 2008.
"As a result of the review we expect that the number of roles within
the UK will fall by about 4,000, around half of which are anticipated to
be through compulsory redundancies. Up to 500 roles will be outsourced
to third party suppliers, while 1,000 roles will be offshored to India,
as part of the 7,800 roles we have previously announced."
Yet the company announced record profits for the first half of the
year - £1.7 billion, an increase of 27% on the previous half year. The
fact that it is prepared to axe 4,000 more jobs, as well as the 7,800
announced last year, shows that the company has a great deal of regard
for its shareholders and directors, and none whatsoever for its
Norwich Union (NU) is part of the huge multinational giant Aviva. It
pays its workers on the Indian subcontinent a pittance with no pay rise
to UK staff this year. Instead we are paid a "bonus" at the company's
discretion, based on the "performance levels" of individual teams.
Workers at NU headquarters in York have spoken of "pay rises" of just
1% of their annual salary. Norwich Union workers are taking an annual
pay cut, with bosses and shareholders bagging the difference.
The announcement of 7,800 job losses last year was met with a muted
and pessimistic response. However this time the company may have pushed
its UK workforce too far, as dozens called for industrial action to
defend its already demoralised and infuriated workforce.
As one worker said to the local media: "Union members expect the
Amicus leadership to take a principled stand on this and call a ballot
for strike action. I would vote Yes to a strike, and I know many other
employees - union members or not - would support it as well."