Unite: Aviva staff 'angry and defiant'

The Unite union has said that there is a "mood of anger and defiance" among Aviva staff after the insurance giant announced 950 job cuts yesterday.

The Unite union has said that there is a "mood of anger and defiance" among Aviva staff after the insurance giant announced 950 job cuts yesterday.

The firm's employees will meet union officials in Galway tonight to consider how they will defend their jobs.

Unite will advise workers who want to take industrial action not to accept any less than what they deserve.

Trade union leaders at Unite have been in talks with staff in Dublin, Galway, Cork and representatives of Aviva’s 26 branches, and members have already voted to start a ballot for industrial action over the redundancies.

Aviva reported an operating profit of €1.5bn for the first half of this year.

Aviva Ireland employs 1,770 people in Dublin, Galway and Cork, and has a customer base of 1.3 million people.

It is expected 770 people at Aviva Ireland will lose their jobs and 180 from Aviva Europe, which is also based in Ireland.

The union’s regional officer, Brian Gallagher, said: “Aviva remains immensely profitable.

“We will tell staff around the country in the coming days that they should not accept compulsory redundancies; they should not accept a voluntary package below what they deserve; and they should not facilitate the removal of jobs from Ireland without negotiated agreement.”

Aviva made the job cuts from its Irish division and European business in what it billed as a cost-saving exercise to make “a stronger, leaner” company.

The redundancies are expected to take effect from March next year.

He said yesterday was a day for anger and high emotion among the workforce.

“Staff in Dublin last night voted unanimously that we should seek a mandate for industrial action ahead of negotiation on the job losses and restructuring announced yesterday,” Mr Gallagher added.

“This mood of anger and defiance is likely to be echoed at the other meetings and that being the case, a ballot will commence as early as next Tuesday.”

A meeting will also be held in Cork tomorrow and in Portlaoise on Monday for branch staff.

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