herald

Sunday 4 December 2016

RSA could lay off twice the number first thought

Insurance

Colm Quinlan
Colm Quinlan
Colm Quinlan,(in yellow jacket) Regional Officer,AMICUS Trade Union with members of the AMICUS trade union picketing the Bank of Ireland HQ, Baggot street, Dublin yesterday

TROUBLED insurer RSA is to lay off double the number of staff it previously indicated.

In recent days the insurer revealed it was laying off up to 59 people, but it has now emerged that it is seeking up to 120 redundancies, with roles to go from various functions.

The firm, which has had to be repeatedly bailed out by its British parent, shed 100 staff last year.

Motorists have been hit by a 14pc rise in premiums across all insurers in the last year, partly as a result of the problems at RSA, and also due to problems at other insurers which tried to compete with it.

Documents show that RSA plans to lay off 120 people, after independent facilitator Martin King made recommendations to management and unions on a redundancy deal.

Accounting

The Irish company has received a total of almost €400m made up of various capital injections from its British parent after huge accounting irregularities emerged at the end of 2013.

The scandal wiped 30pc off the RSA share price on the London Stock Market, and group chief executive Stephen Hester has been engaged in an uphill struggle to get the company back on track.

A number of senior Irish staff have left the company.

The documents seen by this newspaper outline the scale of the restructuring being undertaken in Ireland, called Programme Novus by the insurer. There is also mention of a Diem restructuring programme.

A letter from Colm Quinlan, regional officer of Unite, outlines how a proposed voluntary redundancy programme will see up to 120 positions going. The group employed around 900 here last year.

"This proposal envisages a potential total of approximately 120 job losses," Mr Quinlan's letter to staff says.

A spokesman for the company insisted last week that just 59 were to go, dismissing questions from this newspaper that indicated that more than 100 jobs were going.

Independent facilitator Martin King, has made recommendations on a redundancy deal.

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