Cuts to fall in both life and GI businesses

John McFarlane Aviva

Aviva could axe up to 800 UK jobs as part of executive chairman John McFarlane’s cost-cutting drive, the Financial Times reports.

The cuts are likely to come from both the life and general insurance sides of the business, the paper said.

McFarlane is aiming to achieve £400m of cost savings by 2014, and has already begun work stripping out layers of middle management.

Aviva employs 18,500 people in the UK.

The FT quoted a statement from Aviva, which read: “The vast majority of our employees will be placed into roles with little change. Up to 800 roles could be at risk, although, in practice, it will be fewer than this because of natural turnover, voluntary redundancies and redeployment opportunities within Aviva. Some new roles may also be created in growth areas.

“We recognise this is a difficult time for employees and will do everything we can to support them as we continue with our consultation process.”

The proposal has sparked an angry response from unions. The FT quoted financial sector union Unite national officer David Fleming as saying: “Our members face being asked to pay the price of boardroom failure and Unite is dismayed that what started out as a shareholders’ revolt on executive pay will result in a jobs cull. This is totally unacceptable.”