Ecclesiastical's restructuring plan described as 'jobs for profit' cull

Ecclesiastical and the finance union Unifi are at loggerheads over the insurer's staff cutbacks.

In an open letter, Unifi criticised the insurer over its restructuring plans, which it claims will lead to 80 redundancies - twice as many as Ecclesiastical announced last week.

It called on the insurer to reconsider what it called a "jobs for profit" cull, and permit more voluntary redundancies.

Unifi national officer Terry Keefe said: "Ecclesiastical is asking for volunteers from affected areas to come forward and those that do not will have to go through the trauma of re-applying for their jobs. For a company that calls itself an ethical employer this is a barbaric way to behave towards staff."

Ecclesiastical hit back at Unifi's criticism, claiming its job cull would affect only 40 full-time staff. It claimed its restructuring programme was geared at improving its broker relations, through the opening of two regional underwriting centres in Gloucester and Newcastle.

Ecclesiastical managing director Graham Doswell denounced Unifi's claims over the level of redundancies as "inaccurate".

Doswell said: "I am disappointed with the union's stance. There is an apparent lack of concern in its remarks and they are rather inaccurate.

"We will be reducing staff levels by around 40 full-time positions. The union has probably arrived at its figure by examining the number of people available to fill posts within the company.

"The union has been made aware from the earliest possible opportunity of our plans."