Prudential Assurance to withdraw from Belfast resulting in up to 50 redundancies

Unite Conference 106

Northern Ireland consumers and investors should reconsider the value of Prudential products

In absence of a functioning Executive, local politicians must step up on this issue to defend Northern Ireland workers

February 8th: Unite members employed on a Prudential contract with Capita were yesterday advised that Diligenta had taken on the contract for Prudential Assurance’s life and pensions business and, as such, they would not need any staff in Belfast, relocating the business to Reading.

Kevin McAdam from Unite the Union stated,

“This news comes as a hammer blow to loyal staff who have stayed on even after Prudential outsourced them in 2006 to Capita. This decision effectively leaves up to 50 people in Belfast facing redundancy in the next few months. The company which has taken on the contract, Diligenta, have offered staff redeployment to Reading but this is neither realistic nor affordable for our members. This is a business that has been delivered for Prudential by the workforce here since the early 1980s and some of the current staff have over 30 years’ service.

“In justifying their decision to leave Northern Ireland, Diligenta, on behalf of Prudential, has referenced the fact that Belfast is ‘physically isolated from the two core UK locations’ posing unspecified physical and technical barriers. But these are the same two companies who tell us when outsourcing to India that these type of jobs can be done anywhere in today’s world! One of the most galling aspects of all this is that the staff who will be made redundant will be required to train new staff in England on how to do their jobs.

“Unite believes that this is a case where a new company wants to cut Northern Ireland workers out of the picture for their own ease of operation. We are calling on the people in Northern Ireland to reconsider whether Prudential products have any value to them; investors here must rethink their investments in a company that writes off this part of the United Kingdom as ‘physically isolated.’

“In the absence of a functioning Executive, Unite is calling on local politicians to step up and tackle these  companies. Prudential received five years of support from Invest NI to remain in Northern Ireland in 2000 and as soon as the money dried up they have decided to move out. There is no good reason why Diligenta could not retain the contract in Belfast even if that required looking for new premises or involve further Invest NI assistance”, Mr McAdam said.

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