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Insurance office to cut 120 jobs; Zurich announcement 'a real blow', says MP.

Byline: Kathryn Williams

MORE than 120 jobs are to go at a Cardiff insurance office.

Global firm Zurich announced yesterday that the ongoing restructure and downsizing of the company meant the city centre office was to lose out.

Cardiff West MP Kevin Brennan said the news was a "real blow at a time when people are struggling to make ends meet".

"This is a deeply worrying development and I fully intend to monitor the situation carefully," said Mr Brennan.

"I hope all possibilities and avenues are explored before anyone is made redundant.

"I also understand that some public money may have been used when bringing the company to Cardiff. Now that money needs to be clawed back and used for that same purpose again: giving jobs to the Welsh people."

Zurich is handing over its personal insurance arm to subsidiary firm Endsleigh, meaning customer service staff dealing with home and motor insurance will have to apply for redundancy.

The redundancies are occurring nationwide, but the majority will be in Cardiff.

Karl Bedlow, of Zurich, said: "We do recognise that these changes mean difficult messages for some of our employees, and we are committed to minimising the impact on people by reducing job numbers through redeployment, natural turnover and voluntary measures wherever possible.

"However, we have to make sure that we can flexibly adapt our operational model and processes to meet constantly changing market conditions, and that also means having the right number of people to deliver our products and services according to the level of demand."

Zurich Insurance will remain in Cardiff, a spokesman added.

"We remain committed to our Cardiff building. There will still be 180 people doing what they do best," he said.

The Swiss-founded firm has had an office at Fusion Point, Tresillian Way, off Dumballs Road, since 2004 and currently employs around 360 people. The redundancies are subject to consultation and are expected to be resolved by the end of the year.

The Welsh Government's Shadow Minister for Business, Andrew RT Davies AM, said the announcement by Zurich was not a one-off and that more should be done to keep global businesses in Wales.

He added: "Whether it's Panasonic, Bosch, Sony or Zurich, it's obvious to me that more must be done to encourage names like these to stay put and keep staff on. Today's announcement is symptomatic of a wider problem."

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* Insurance giant Zurich has had an office off Dumballs Road, Cardiff, since 2004, where it employs 360 people
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jul 7, 2011
Words:416
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