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Workers vow to fight cuts at Quinn

Workers today pledged to fight plans by the joint administrators of Quinn Insurance to make about 800 staff redundant as part of a major downsizing of the insurer, the Irish Times reports.

This move is a result of the insurer only being allowed to partially re-enter the UK insurance market. The job cuts equate to one in three staff employed by the company and will be a major blow to the local areas where they work.

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Staff will be briefed about the plan tomorrow afternoon. Staff representatives were angry today that they only learned of the job cuts through the media.

The redundancies will all be voluntary and will be implemented over a 12- to 15-month period, as elements of the UK business wind down. Informed sources said about 300 jobs will go immediately.

The majority of the job losses will be in the Republic, even though the restructuring relates primarily to its UK business. Much of the UK business is handled by staff at Quinn’s offices in Dublin, Cavan, Cork and Navan. There will also be job losses at Quinn’s offices in Enniskillen and Manchester.

The insurer employs about 550 staff in Enniskillen and 100 in Manchester. It has 2,400 employees in Ireland and Britain.

The administrators drew up a number of plans which involved redundancies ranging from 550 to more than 900.

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They told staff last week that its headcount needed to be cut and that their plans would be revealed on Friday. Last month the Financial Regulator instructed Quinn Insurance to stop writing new business in the UK because it was loss-making.

This was the same day that the regulator moved to have the joint administrators appointed by the High Court, taking control of the business away from Seán Quinn and his family. This followed concerns over its solvency ratios.