Jobs move no threat to Hibernian workers

NONE of the 2,000 jobs in Hibernian Group are threatened by the decision of its parent group to transfer 1,000 jobs from its British operations to India.

Hibernian is owned by Aviva, which owns Norwich Union in Britain.

It has decided to transfer 950 jobs to India as part of a continuing drive by the group to shed jobs.

The transfers have raised fears that Norwich in Ireland, which has been absorbed into Hibernian, might also be targeted in the jobs shakeout.

“Absolutely not,” said a spokesperson for Hibernian Group when contacted yesterday.

Between the existing Hibernian operations and the add-on Norwich Union, the combined group employs 2,000 in Ireland, with the numbers spread across Ireland in 30 different branch offices.

Hibernian is the largest general insurer in Ireland, including motor insurance.

It is the second-biggest provider of car cover and has introduced a number of innovations to the Irish market in recent times.

Meantime, Norwich Union, the insurance giant in Britain, is to relocate hundreds more jobs to India in a move which will lead to compulsory redundancies in Britain.

About 950 jobs will be created in India and Sri Lanka next year, leading to the loss of jobs in offices including Norwich and York.

Aviva, which owns Norwich Union, said that by the end of 2007, it will have transferred 7,000 jobs out of Britain.

Here, Aviva owns Hibernian Life and Pensions and Hibernian Investment Managers, that includes Norwich.

A spokesperson for those firms said that they would not be affected by the relocations.

In a statement in Britain yesterday Aviva said: “offshoring is a well-established strategy for Aviva, which provides flexibility and efficiency and enables the company to maintain the quality of service which customers demand.”

Norwich Union Life chief executive Gary Withers said Norwich expected to conclude its plans by the end of 2007, by which time “we anticipate that we will have up to 7,000” people servicing the existing British business operations.

The Irish spokesperson said no indication of any sort has been given by the British parent of any downsizing plans for its overall Irish operations.

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