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Aviva HR chief jets to Paris home after junket in Barcelona

THE man who will decide whether 1,000 Irish workers will be sacked lives part-time in Paris.

Scotsman Joe McCaughey is the HR director at Aviva Ireland but only spends part of the week here.

Now he will decide how many jobs go at the insurance giant, in a plan named Operation Accelerate.

Mr McCaughey spent most of this week on a luxury junket at a top Barcelona golf resort, as details of the Aviva plan to shed hundreds of Irish jobs were revealed.

He jetted back into Ireland yesterday for talks with Aviva union officials about the firing up to 1,000 Aviva staff -- and is set to jet back to his Paris home today.

The fact that Mr McCaughey doesn't live full-time in Ireland has rankled with Irish staff.

"If he lived in this country and spent all his time here, then maybe Mr McCaughey could see the misery and uncertainty that Aviva staff are facing," said one union insider.

"For Aviva and its senior management, it seems the 'out of sight, out of mind' policy is best.

"When its chief hirer and firer can't even be bothered to live here permanently it's not a good sign for the rest of us," said a union official

Mr McCaughey and Aviva have come under scathing criticism for the uncertainty that has been festering at the company since February.

It has originally been expected that 500 people would lose their jobs, but that figure is now up to 1,000.

This week marked a now low in management-employee relations when it emerged that Mr McCaughey was on an Aviva junket of HR executives at the Dolce Sitges Golf Resort in Spain.

At the Dolce Sitges Mediterranean five-star resort, corporate staff enjoyed championship golf, luxury spa and fine dining.

The Operation Accelerate plan is set to be activated within days, although the company was today unable to outline a detailed plan.

Mr McCaughey was unavailable for comment when his office was contacted by the Herald.

imallon@herald.ie