Prudential employees, based in Reading, will stage two 24-hour strikes over plans to offshore an estimated 82 jobs dealing with annuities to India.
Staff, members of Unite, the country’s largest union, will strike for 24 hours from 00.01 on Friday 16 September over the proposal to offshore back office annuity work to Mumbai. A second 24 hour strike is set to go-ahead from 00.01 on Friday 23 September.
The union said that the two days of strike action were ‘major shots across the Prudential’s bows’ in a bid to make it to reconsider the offshoring decision. Unite members will also be continuing their indefinite work-to-rule which started on 31 August.
Unite also demanded that the management ‘came clean’ on the numbers of staff that are earmarked to lose their jobs. The HR1 redundancy notices says 82 jobs are at risk, although the firm has reportedly told the media the number is 51.
Unite regional officer Ian Methven said: “The Prudential has got itself tied up in knots over this unnecessary offshoring exercise.
“The management is unclear about how many jobs are at risk; how much money will allegedly be saved – first of all, it said it was £2 million, now it claims to be more – and the withdrawal of a customer statement saying there will be no impact on services.
“This confusion smacks of rank incompetence. As a result, our members will be staging two 24-hour strikes as a major shot across the company’s bows. Customer services for annuities will be severely affected on the strike days.
“We want the management to reconsider its decision which risks losing over 500 years of collective knowledge and experience in Reading.
“Unite is willing to talk at any time, any place to achieve a fair settlement. We have already submitted a counter proposal asking the company to stop the offshoring.
“We don’t accept that you can only improve efficiencies by moving work to Mumbai which will have an adverse impact on customer/client relations.”
The potential loss of these jobs, which are mainly full-time, is out of a total Prudential workforce in the Berkshire town of about 800. The intention is to retain 12 jobs in Reading dealing with other related annuity work.
Unite has already starkly contrasted the money that will be saved with the four highly paid senior appointments recently made by Prudential UK and Europe chief executive, John Foley.
Notes to editors:
The Prudential plan to offshore work, entitled ‘Project Jupiter’, is the moving of individual annuities servicing and bereavement work from Reading to Mumbai. Prudential has about 1.4 million annuities customers that would require these services in the life cycle of their products.
The work involved includes: overseas payments, overpayments, bereavements, enquiries, tax, power of attorney, bankruptcy, joint life annuities and guarantee annuities. This work has just started on migrating overseas payments with the last work type guarantee due to be completed by March 2017.
For more information please contact Unite press office on 020 3371 2065
Twitter: @unitetheunion Facebook: unitetheunion1 Web: unitetheunion.org
Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.