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Aviva staff face 6-week wait

AVIVA staff will have to wait up to six weeks before they know if they are to get the sack, due to a "wall of silence" by management it has been claimed.

The insurance giant's treatment of staff has been described as "unacceptable" by the Unite union, following more talks which failed to allay the fears of 1,000 workers, who look set to lose their jobs.

The union met with HR director Joe McCaughey and management yesterday in a bid to get the company to, at the very least, let staff know where they stood.

One in two members of Aviva's Irish staff could face the door under a chillingly titled plan code-named Operation Accelerate.

Despite the efforts of the union, Aviva is not revealing its hand.

"You could call it a wall of silence," said Unite spokesman Rob Hartnett today.

"(Irish) management are quite strong to save as many jobs as possible, but they won't give any detail.

"They say it is possible they won't make any statement on the matter for another four to six weeks, which is unacceptable."

The now shambolic handling of the situation comes at the end of a week in which staff have never felt more uncertain of their futures.

To add to the sense of farce, the Herald this week revealed that the very person who will fire hundreds of Irish staff spent most of the week at a luxury golf resort in Barcelona, at an Aviva junket.

Scotsman Mr McCaughey, who lives in Paris and is HR chief at Aviva Ireland, enjoyed the luxurious splendour of the five-star Dolce Sitges Golf Resort.

Mr McCaughey and fellow HR directors from around the world enjoyed fine dining, championship golf and luxury spa treatments while staff here feared for their futures.

imallon@herald.ie