Union Amicus is to take Aviva, the owner of Norwich Union and the RAC, to an employment tribunal, claiming the insurance giant failed to consult its officials before dismissing more than 300 call-centre workers.
The job cuts are part of a 1,700-strong cull after its acquisition of RAC, the motoring services group, earlier this year.
Amicus claims workers at call centres in Darlington and Morecambe were only informed of their redundancies yesterday, before the union had been given a chance to consult over the terms of the job cuts.
Scott Egan, director of operations for RAC Insurance, said: “It is always difficult to make this kind of decision, but we have to ensure that our business is fit for the future. Unfortunately, the centres do not provide us with the infrastructure and flexibility to meet our future growth plans.”
Amicus’s national secretary, David Fleming, said: “We are extremely disappointed at the cavalier approach Norwich Union has taken to the livelihoods of so many hardworking and loyal staff. There has been no consultation and the staff at RAC are understandably shocked.”
Later in the day, Norwich Union issued a further statement, stating that it was now talking to the affected employees and Amicus.
Of the 1,700 cuts planned by Aviva, about 900 are to be lost due to duplication, while a further 800 are to move offshore.