50 jobs on the brink after Capita loses contract to firm in Reading
Around 50 jobs are at risk at the Belfast office of outsourcing giant Capita after the company lost a contract with a financial services firm.
Capita yesterday confirmed its deal with Prudential Assurance was being withdrawn, which will affect dozens of employees in the city.
Trade union Unite said workers were told on Wednesday that Diligenta had taken over the contract with Prudential Assurance's life and pensions business.
Staff in Belfast were informed they would no longer be needed after the work was shifted to Reading, a union spokesperson said.
Capita said it would do all it could to help staff.
A spokesperson added: "We are working with the new provider and Unite to look at the options available in advance of the contract transferring from Capita and how we can support our employees throughout this process."
Unite said the development was awful news.
Spokesman Kevin McAdam added: "This comes as a hammer blow to loyal staff who stayed on even after Prudential outsourced them in 2006 to Capita.
"This decision effectively leaves up to 50 people in Belfast facing redundancy in the next few months.
"The company which has taken on the contract has offered redeployment to Reading, but this is neither realistic nor affordable."
Prudential Assurance has been operating in Northern Ireland since the early 1980s with some of the current staff having accrued more than 30 years of service.
It has been a bad week for local employment, with hundreds of job losses already announced.
Engineering firm Williams Industrial Services, which employed 145 people in Mallusk, was placed in administration on Tuesday.
Most of the workforce was made redundant straight away.
French oil services firm Schlumberger is also closing its Newtownabbey operation with the loss of 205 jobs. It is believed workers could be out as early as the first week of April, but the plant may not close until June.
Energy firm NIE Networks also said it was cutting 90 posts amid efficiency plans across the business.
Combined with the loss of 270 positions announced on January 27 over the planned closure of Kilroot power station by energy company AES, Northern Ireland will see in the region of 700 jobs axed in the next few months.