Morale at the Oxford office of Norwich Union (NU) is "appalling", an ex-employee has claimed after staff successfully reapplied for their jobs, only to be made redundant.

The underwriter said that, two weeks after leaving the Oxford branch, NU advertised for a new underwriter.

"Through these turbulent times for CGNU, staff, brokers, customers and shareholders have experienced a dramatic decrease in customer service standards, morale and share value," the underwriter said.

Last September Insurance Times reported that five of NU's Oxford branch staff were forced to reapply for their jobs for the second time, only one week after starting them.

The employees already reapplied for their jobs once, when NU and CGU merged, but were hit by more redundancies due to a national reorganisation.

At the time, NU said they had been given the original jobs "in good faith".

However, last week, one of the five who lost their job in the second redundancies said the position was re-advertised almost immediately.

"We were given two weeks to complete the form, of which my manager was on holiday the first week and I was on holiday the following week," the underwriter said.

The underwriter was told, as the lowest scoring candidate, he must go, despite excellent qualifications, conduct and sickness record.

An NU spokeswoman said: "In March this year, an underwriter from the Oxford office resigned and that vacancy is now being advertised.

"A further underwriting role is also vacant, but it's that of a senior underwriter - three levels higher than the role that was made redundant."