Norwich Union - the path to closure

THE closure of The Warren in 2010 '“ Norwich Union's Worthing base '“ will be the culmination of a spate of job loses at the site in recent years.

Back in July 2003, 40 staff were made redundant from the insurance firm. All of those affected worked either as support staff or in the human resources department.

Half of those who lost their jobs were forced into compulsory redundancy, with 20 people taking the voluntary redundancy option.

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The lay offs were part of a cutback of 900 staff across the UK, which included the closure of its life and pensions administration centre near Manchester.

At the time parent company Aviva denied the decision was linked to the opening of a new call centre in India, but just five months later another 40 jobs were axed in Worthing and moved to the country.

When the news of more job losses broke in December 2003, one employee branded the move "disgusting".

He said: "Many companies seem to be out-sourcing to India. It's pretty disgusting for everyone who will lose their jobs there."

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The company claimed the decision was taken to ensure customers got value for money products and high levels of service.

A year later, in December 2004, another five jobs were cut at The Warren. All five staff worked in the life and pensions department.

The news came just days after a huge banner boasting: 'Seasons come and go. We're here to stay. Now recruiting', was put up at the site.

A company spokeswoman said where possible the staff would be redeployed within other areas of the company.

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Most recently, in September 2006, around 100 staff from the IT department were axed.

They arrived at work to be told they were being made redundant '“ a situation which repeated itself for the 660 staff who arrived at The Warren this morning (Friday, June 6) to be told they were out of a job.

In 2006 the IT staff's work was contracted out to other companies; part of a cull of 4,000 jobs nationally by the end of that year.

The losses were described as "absolutely brutal" by David Fleming, national officer for trade union Amicus, who condemned the way affected staff had been told their fate.

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He said: "They are treating their staff with contempt and clearly have more regard for their shareholder profits than their UK workforce."

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.

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


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