But insurer said 120 jobs would be created at Birmingham and Hove offices

Legal and General’s (L&G) plans to cut 140 insurance jobs and close its Ipswich office by next May has been described as “damaging to the business” by the Unite union.

Unite called on the senior management to reverse the “unnecessary decision”. It has not ruled out industrial action to save the jobs.

Staff at the Friars Bridge Road office were informed of the news yesterday morning, according to the Ipswich Star.

The company said the office closure was part of a plan to combine its customer services operations at one site in Birmingham.

It added that while 140 jobs would go at Ipswich, 120 jobs would be created at its offices in Birmingham and Hove.

Household claims will move to Birmingham, creating a single claims operation, and all Ipswich customer service operations will move to Hove customer service.

But Unite regional officer Ian Methven said the workforce at the two sites would not be increased to reflect the number of job losses.

In October L&G announced it was in talks with the union over potential redundancies of up to 600.

The move was described as part of a wider restructuring of the business.

Methven said: “This is devastating news for the staff and their families and also a serious blow to the wider Suffolk economy.

“This follows substantial job losses across the country by the insurance giant in the last year and today’s announcement is a kick in the teeth to the loyal and experienced workforce in Ipswich.

“We will be giving our members maximum support in the weeks and month ahead.

“Unite firmly believes that L&G’s strategy of reducing jobs to cut costs is damaging to both the business and to its members (policyholders). It is a counter-productive policy.”

He added: “These jobs losses will affect customers across the whole of the country and not just in East Anglia.”

The insurer said the restructure to combine its UK retail protection, general insurance, Legal & General Netherlands and Legal & General Network led it to make some further changes to the operations and activities in its customer service areas

L&G said: “We would reassure our customers, business partners and intermediaries that the support and service we provide will continue to be very much business as usual.”