AXA Tech staff briefed to expect mass redundancies

AXA Tech staff in Bristol and Lytham were briefed today about the forthcoming split in the UK operation between the retained operation and that transferring to Friends Provident following the AXA Sun Life Services sale last year. Scheduled for the beginning of June 2011, AXA Tech management told staff that in all likelihood the transferring population would be subject to mass redundancies.

Under the Sale Agreement between AXA and Resolution it was agreed that AXA Tech would provide continued IT service  for the transferring business for a period of time and then following an exercise to split the UK Tech operation, 163 roles (40% of the current AXA Tech population in the UK) would transfer to Friends Provident under TUPE regulations. AXA Tech staff are being asked to indicate their preference to remain with AXA or transfer this week.

Unfortunately Friends Provident have decided that they will not run the IT support themselves but are looking to transfer it to IBM who have indicated that if the work comes to them, the vast majority of the work will be offshored to India, with a few roles transferred to Dorking and Salisbury.

Effectively this means that the vast majority of the transferred employees will be made redundant.

Unite in AXA is working with AXA Tech management to try and preserve as many jobs as possible and will be looking to Friends and IBM to maximise redeployment opportunities for those in the TUPE population who in all probability will be at risk of redundancy upon transfer.

Call to include ‘social consequences’ in sale negotiations

The AXA European Works Council secretariat has called on AXA management for the inclusion of social consequences in any future negotiations over the sale of any parts of the business to another party.

In the February bureau meeting today with Group HR, a review of the Friends Provident sale led to this call when the level of compensation to members of AXA‘s Defined Benefit pension scheme was discussed.

Management agreed that it was important that social partners (such as the European Works Council and unions) were involved as early as possible but this can depend on the third party agreeing to this.

Pension provision in Friends Life

Unite members have asked for details as to the state of negotiations in respect of pension scheme arrangements for AXA employees that are transferring to Friends Life. Unite can confirm that as yet no actual pension offer has been put to the union for consideration.

When formal proposals are received, Unite will then seek to analyse them (and the supporting data) with a view to consulting with Unite members, possibly including a ballot.

One of the requests that Unite have put to Friends and AXA is that transitional pension arrangements are agreed to be put in place for a suitable period following the sale (date now estimated as 7th September).

Even at this late stage it is most important to get issues such as pension provision right, so Unite are not intending to rush into agreeing any proposal received as a “done deal” by the transaction completion date.