Job losses are separate to previously announced redundancies of 600 roles

The 140 job cuts being made by Legal & General (L&G) at its Ipswich office are separate to the 600 redundancies the insurer announced last year, trade union Unite has claimed.

The insurer is planning to close its Ipswich office by next May and relocate its household claims and customer service divisions to Birmingham and Hove, where 120 new jobs will be created.

L&G told union representatives and staff last week that following a site review, it had decided to close the Ipswich office and centralise some of its insurance operations. The lease on the Ipswich office is also due to expire in December 2015.

Unite regional officer Ian Methven said the job losses did not form part of the previously announced 600 and added, prior to Monday, the union was unaware of Ipswich closure or merger plans.

“These job losses came out of the blue, particularly as some jobs had been transferred from Belfast into Ipswich,” he added. “We had no idea they were contemplating redundancies there.”

“We don’t know where they are going to fit these jobs. We don’t know where the 120 are coming from, or what training is going to be provided.

“The idea that people will pick up their family and lives and move to Hove or Birmingham to take up these jobs is ridiculous.”

Back in October L&G announced that following a restructure of the business it was in talks with Unite over potential redundancies – with 600 jobs at risk.

Methven said over the last 12 months the union had been working with L&G to redeploy people to other locations under the redundancy programme.

“Nobody wants anyone to lose their job but it has all been done very sensibly and constructively, which we are very pleased about,” he added.

“But we are particularly angry about the way this [Ipswich closure] has been done. And the way in which these loyal and experienced employees have been treated by Legal & General.”

The union is now consulting with its members over the possibility of a strike or demonstration, but stressed it would continue to “engage” with the insurer to get them to review their decision.

L&G declined to comment but has previously said that as a result of its restructuring programme it has now had to make further changes to some operations and activities in its customer service areas.