Job cuts hit CIS district office network

The Co-operative Insurance Society (CIS) is to close 106 regional offices with the loss of 900 jobs.

Unions have said that many staff felt a "sense of anger and betrayal" after the company confirmed plans announced earlier this year to close its District Office network by the end of 2005.

In a phased programme, which is part of a restructuring by the Co-op that is expected to see 2,000 jobs axed, CIS district offices across the UK will close.

Dave McCall of the Transport & General Workers Union, one of five unions involved in consultations, said that the union would take an active part in forthcoming consultations, opposing any compulsory redundancies.

He said: "Many staff affected feel angry and betrayed since most of them have got long and loyal service to the society.

"However, there's good news in the sense that CIS are still, at least, committed to maintaining the sales force but our Sales Managers, District Managers and District Auditors are still waiting to see whether the Society's plans for their grades look sustainable or not."

In July this year, CIS announced a restructuring and modernisation plan to cope with "tough new market conditions".

In a statement, the company said that decision was "difficult" and had not been taken lightly.

The restructuring includes the centralisation of the existing customer contact and administration facilities with the associated phased closure of the district offices.

The company said that around 350 jobs may be transferred to Co-operative Financial Services (CFS) headquarters in Manchester.

CFS brought together The Co-operative Bank, smile (the Internet bank) and the Co-operative Insurance Society (CIS) under Chief Executive Mervyn Pedelty.

Currently, CFS employs 14,000 staff in the UK of which 9,000 were employed in the insurance division; this figure includes 3,000 financial advisors.


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