Aviva could cut as many as 1,000 jobs

SPECULATION was mounting last night that private health insurer Aviva could shed up to half its Irish workforce as it moves to restructure its European business.

This would double the number of job losses suggested two weeks ago when RTÉ reported that 500 jobs were under threat.

Last night Prime Time said it had since seen documents suggesting Aviva, which employs 2,000 people here, plans to cut its Irish workforce by 800 to 1,000 under a programme known as Operation Accelerate. It is believed to be considering reducing the number of branches from 26 to 11 and is looking at more automation to reduce staff numbers.

Aviva has more than 1.2 million customers in Ireland across the general insurance, life and pensions, and health insurance markets.

The company last night made no advance on a statement issued two weeks ago, repeating that it is considering its options in a difficult economic environment and it was too early to speculate.

Brian Gallagher, regional director of Unite, said the process had been dragging on since February and urged the company to bring workers up to speed on its plans.

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