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'Aviva to outsource more jobs to India'

This is despite a study which found that 51 per cent of customers were "appalled" by call centres based abroad.

india Updated: Sep 17, 2006 15:55 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India

British insurance giant Aviva will go ahead with its plans to outsource 1,000 jobs to India and fire 4,000 employees, despite a study indicating that a majority of its customers were opposed to dealing with call centres saying it was detrimental to the country's economy.

The study found that 51 per cent of customers were "appalled" by call centres based abroad. India was consistently singled out for criticism, The Observer newspaper report said on Sunday.

But, the insurance giant is going ahead with its decision on the outsourcing despite the report, it said.

A further 87 per cent of respondents said that call centres were not good for the UK economy and only 28 per cent thought that using call centres would result in cheaper insurance premiums in the long-term.

In the past, the insurance industry has argued that, although off-shore call centres are unpopular, customers are prepared to tolerate them if it means lower prices.

Respondents said call centres on the sub-continent were difficult to deal with because the staff lacked knowledge of Britain.

A smaller number claimed that staff were hard to understand because of their accents.

Many customers have complained about the use of scripts and suggested that service could be improved by moving call centres back to Britain.

The timing of Aviva's outsourcing jobs come alongside an announcement of 4,000 job cuts in the UK, including up to 2,000 compulsory redundancies, which infuriated the trade unions.

An Amicus spokeswoman said that the union would take whatever measures necessary to fight the redundancies. She said, "we are going to do whatever it takes, including putting political pressure on them."

The union is writing to MPs in all 13 locations where cuts are planned, urging them to take action to protect jobs and to lobby the government for its support.

The job cuts, which include 850 in Norwich, 450 in York, 250 in Glasgow and 250 in Sheffield, would reduce Aviva's British workforce to 32,000.

First Published: Sep 17, 2006 15:55 IST