Standard Life tells 200 staff to move to Edinburgh or lose job

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The Independent Online

Standard Life, the mutual insurer poised to cut bonuses to millions of policyholders this week, informed 200 people yesterday that they would lose their jobs unless they relocated to Edinburgh.

Up to 200 people working in Standard's back office and administration departments are being made redundant as part of a restructuring programme. They are being offered alternative employment in the company's headquarters. But many of the workers affected are women with families and Standard Life is not expecting many to relocate.

"This is not about cost cutting," Marcia Campbell, the company secretary, said, "It is about modernising the company going forward and rationalising our systems so that they are in line with the new technology we have. A lot of our business is now automated, and the independent financial advisers we sell through don't now need the local hubs we operate."

Ms Campbell said the restructuring would take at least a year to complete and that the company would do its best to offer support and help to those that would have to leave.

There is a growing feeling of discontent amongst some members of Standard's staff. "We're all growing sick of the management's arrogance and lots of people are extremely unhappy," one employee, who did not want to be named, said.

The news follows this week's decision by Standard to throw out a bid to demutualise the company. David Stonebanks, a retired lecturer, had gathered more than the 1,000 signatures needed to convene a vote on demutualisation, but Standard dismissed the call on legal technicalities about the wording of the resolutions.

The job cuts come ahead of an announcement on Friday detailing sales figures for the first six months of its financial year. Standard will also announce new bonus levels. It has cut bonuses by 15 per cent this year already, on top of 10 per cent cuts in September last year, and further cuts are expected.

Standard employs around 11,000 people in the UK. A number of its rivals have already made reductions to their head counts.