Prudential closes offices, 700 jobs to go

Insurance giant Prudential has announced it is to close three offices across the UK and transfer work to other sites, including India, sparking the threat of industrial action.

Prudential offices in Belfast, London and Bristol will close, as part of a £40 million cost-saving initiative affecting up to 700 workers. Work will be transferred to Craigforth in Scotland, Derby and Mumbai in India.

Chief executive Nick Prettejohn said: “Any change that results in redundancies is regrettable. We are consulting with unions and staff organisations and will make every effort to ensure that our people are kept informed and helped through this difficult transition period.”

The Amicus union pledged to fight the move, raising the threat of strikes to protect the UK workers’ jobs.

In 2002, the union signed an agreement with the Prudential stipulating no compulsory redundancies as a result of offshoring.

The agreement ran out in February 2006 and Amicus believes the Prudential has waited until the expiry of the agreement to slash UK jobs where the union is strongest.

National officer David Fleming said: “Amicus is prepared to fight these proposals and we will support our members in any action they choose to take to protect their jobs.

“We have told the company in no uncertain terms that we do not accept their proposals and that they are making no attempt to avoid compulsory redundancies.”

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