Insurance group Aviva is to step up its offshore outsourcing programme by closing 12 operations in the UK and shifting a further 2500 jobs to India in 2004.
Around 2350 of the new positions will substitute for jobs currently filled by UK staff working for Norwich Union, including 350 call centre roles and 2000 back office administration, processing and IT functions. A further 150 Indian positions will support the firm's general insurance business in Canada.
The new jobs add to 1200 staff already employed by Aviva at its offshore operations in India. Approximately 80% of the UK jobs exported to India are expected to be accommodated through a combination of business expansion, voluntary redundancies and natural wastage. The remaining 500 staff will be offered redeployment, says Aviva, although it does not rule out the possibility of compulsory redundancies. There will be no job losses in Canada as a result of the move.
Richard Harvey, group chief executive of Aviva says: "It is vital that we continually explore opportunities to improve our efficiency while maintaining service levels. Our staff in India are an important part of this process and our experiences to date have been positive."
He says the company will continue to work through the possibilities of shifting more functions to India over the course of 2004.
The plans have been deplored by UK finance union Amicus, which is threatening industrial action.
Dave Fleming Amicus national secretary says: "These job cuts will have a serious effect on many local communities where Aviva has sites for the sake of a 40% saving that will not be passed onto their customers. I'm calling on Aviva management to reverse this despicable decision and vow to give Amicus members in Aviva the union's full backing in whatever course of action they choose to take in support of their jobs."