Royal & SunAlliance (R&SA) has announced that it is transfer 1200 staff to India, which will save it over £10 millon ($18m) a year.
The company said the jobs would cover a range of front line and back office roles, including call centre staff. It will adopt a phased approach to the transfers, moving staff from both R&SA and its direct arm MORE TH>N over the next two years.
"As far as possible the reduction in UK jobs will be managed through natural turnover and redeployment. We have kept people informed at all stages and have fully consulted with our union partners and will continue to work closely with them over the next two years," says Duncan Boyle, Royal & SunAlliance’s UK chief executive.
"We work in a very competitive environment and processing some of our work in India will not only help us control costs but will also give us greater operational flexibility," he adds.
The insurer stressed the Indian operation would be run in exactly the same way as R&SA’s UK centres, using the same performance measures and demanding he same standards, to ensure consistency of service wherever a call is answered.
This announcement comes just a month after competitor Norwich Union said it was moving 950 call centre jobs to India and Sri Lanka and intended to have 7,000 staff working in India within three years.
Trade unions said R&SA’s decision was more bad news for the UK’s service sector and showed the threat offshoring represented to the UK economy.
"This announcement clearly shows that offshoring presents an unprecedented threat to UK jobs and the economy. Over 8000 job losses have been announced over the last few weeks," comments David Fleming, Amicus general secretary. "The Government needs to make raising skills a priority. Policies to enable the UK to compete are urgent to reverse employer under investment in training and development which will hamstring the UK service sector if it is allowed to continue."