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Tough conditions force Co-op to axe 2,500 jobs

Banking and insurance giant Co-operative Financial Services is cutting 2,500 jobs from its insurance division blaming tough market conditions that have forced a restructure.

The move follows a wave of financial services job cuts in Scotland from Aegon and Standard Life at the beginning of the year. Standard&#39s decision to demutualise accompanied plans to cut 1,000 jobs by the end of 2004.

Royal London axed 92 jobs at the beginning of this month and Bradford & Bingley said it would cut a further 600 jobs.

CIS says tough market conditions have forced it to look at a radical restructuring of the business. It is considering multi-tying with other financial services product providers after depolarisation.

The company says it intends to improve its customer service by fulfilling more of their needs at the initial point of contact.

Although the company says its plan to restructure could see the loss of 2,500 insurance jobs up to 500 new customer services positions could be created as a result of the planned changes.

The group says there will be further discussions as to how the cuts will be implemented and what support will be available for redeployment and retraining.

T&G regional secretary in the North-west Dave McCall says: “The job losses are a hard blow. They appear to be the price to pay for bringing CIS up to date with the challenges of tomorrow. Our members in the district offices will be affected but we are committed to do all we can to look after their interests.”

Co-operative Financial Services chief executive Mervyn Pedelty says: “CIS is not immune from the intensifying economic and competitive pressures occurring within its core markets and we need to take action now to ensure a vibrant, successful and sustainable future for our business.”

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