Norwich Union: "Leak" prompted shock announcement

NORWICH Union admitted it was axing 660 jobs and leaving its Broadwater office after the scheme was leaked to a national newspaper.

Tim Loughton, MP for East Worthing, said the scheme was due to be unveiled in around a month's time but the revelation it had been leaked to a newspaper meant the plans were publicised.

"It's very bad news," said Mr Loughton. "I've spoken to the company this morning. The announcement came out today because it was leaked. It wasn't due to come out for another month.

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"Their hand was forced by a leak to a national newspaper. Some time in the next four weeks we will have a proper briefing, rather than the rushed thing we have had this morning."

Meanwhile, reaction has been flooding into the newsdesk.

Staff-member Marcus Franklin wrote:

"Fortunately, I am one of the lucky few that are being relocated to another site. I have heard many refering to ourselves as 'The Aviva 100'

"The general mood around the building is of a sombre tone, many are in disbelief, however many are also in high spirits, trying to view the situation in a positive manner.

"One thing is clear this move will have an huge impact on many people & families in the surrounding area.

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"We will however all support the less fortunate amongst us and work together as one team to get through this difficult time."

Graham Goddard, Unite Deputy General Secretary, wrote: "Unite is angry today to learn that Aviva is to cut 1,800 jobs across the country.

"This news for staff that their jobs are now in jeopardy is truly devastating.

"The Aviva workforce from the general insurance arm now faces uncertainty about their future.

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"Unite the union will now be meeting with management in order to discuss the implications of this news and ensure that staff are fully supported throughout the distressing process.

"Aviva general insurance is rapidly withdrawing their commitment to local communities and isolating themselves in a small number of cities.

"The suggestion that employees will be able to relocate appears to be inconceivable for most of those affected."

Staff member Robin White emailed to say:

"The news stunned as all. We were all herded into the Warren Club hall and quite bluntly told the site at Worthing would close by 2010.

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"After the announcement we were asked to return to our place of work and continue to provide the excellent service we have been giving consistently in the past. Can you believe it!

"A lot of people were too upset to stay and went home.

"This weekend the reality would have set in and the morale on Monday will be very low. The implications will affect everybody in different ways, mostly not good."

Do you work for Norwich Union in Worthing?

How worried are you by this announcement?

What impact will it have on Worthing and the surrounding area?

Share your views, comment in the space below, email Chris Taylor at the Herald on [email protected], call him on 01903 282 366, or write in to Readers' Letters, Cannon House, Chatsworth Road, Worthing, BN11 1NA.

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All letters must include a name and address which can be witheld by request.


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