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August 11, 2009    

AXA announces job cuts despite rising profit

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by David Masters

Insurance giant Axa has announced plans to cut 350 jobs despite a 2% rise in its UK profits.

The insurer said the jobs are being axed to streamline costs and ensure it emerges “fitter and stronger” from the recession.

Redundancies will be made at Axa Insurance UK’s life business unit, which has offices across the UK including in Coventry, Basingstoke, and on the Isle of Man.

The job cuts will help Axa increase its cost savings over the next three years from a planned £80 million to £150 million.

The Unite union criticised the plans, which will reduce Axa’s UK workforce by 10%.

“We understand that Axa Life is concerned about its cost base and level of profitability; however, this must not be used as an excuse for the short-term slashing of jobs,” said David Kennedy, Unite regional officer.

“We will scrutinise and robustly challenge these plans as appropriate and will expect Axa Life to make every effort to avoid compulsory redundancies.”

Axa has already reduced its UK workforce by more than 1,000 in the past year.

Chief executive Nicolas Moreau acknowledged the firm’s cost cutting “involves making difficult decisions that impact on employees.”

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