Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 December 2014

Aviva condemned over job losses

Unite's Brian Gallagher speaks outside the Aviva offices in Dublin
Unite's Brian Gallagher speaks outside the Aviva offices in Dublin

Insurance giant Aviva treated staff disgracefully when it announced 950 redundancies, the Tanaiste has claimed.

Labour leader Eamon Gilmore said the manner in which management handled the lay-offs was unacceptable. "I think the way in which Aviva treated their employees yesterday was disgraceful," he said.

"Calling them in, in the manner in which they were called in, requiring them not to talk to the press and then letting them back out again, as wise as when they went in, is simply not acceptable."

Sinn Fein TD Mary Lou McDonald criticised the Government for failing to intervene in the crisis at Aviva, one of the world's largest insurance firms. "Staff are still in the dark as to whether their jobs are under threat and if redundancies will be voluntary or compulsory," she said.

Aviva made the job cuts from its Irish division and European business in what it billed as a cost-saving exercise to make "a stronger, leaner" company. The redundancies are expected to take effect from March next year.

Ms McDonald asked the Government what ministers were doing to ensure there are job opportunities for the 950 people who are losing their jobs. "We need a multi-billion euro investment in job creation as proposed by Sinn Fein to bring this country to recovery," she said.

"Those people losing jobs today need to know that there is hope."

Trade union leaders at Unite have been in talks with staff in Dublin, Galway, Cork and representatives of Aviva's 26 branches, and members have already voted to start a ballot for industrial action over the redundancies.

Aviva reported an operating profit of 1.5 billion euro for the first half of this year.

Aviva Ireland employs 1,770 people in Dublin, Galway and Cork, and has a customer base of 1.3 million people. It is expected 770 people at Aviva Ireland will lose their jobs and 180 from Aviva Europe, which is also based in Ireland.

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