Prudential employees based in Reading are set to stage two 24-hour strikes over the next two weeks, in protest at plans to offshore an estimated 82 jobs dealing with annuities to India.
Staff, who are members of the Unite union, will strike for 24 hours from 00.01 on Friday 16 September over the proposal to offshore back office annuity work to Mumbai. A second 24-hour strike is set to go ahead from 00.01 on Friday 23 September.
The union said that the two days of strike action were "major shots across the Prudential’s bows" in a bid to make it to reconsider the offshoring decision. Unite members will also be continuing their indefinite work-to-rule which started on 31 August.
"The Prudential has got itself tied up in knots over this unnecessary offshoring exercise," said Unite regional officer Ian Methven.
“The management is unclear about how many jobs are at risk. This confusion smacks of rank incompetence. As a result, our members will be staging two 24-hour strikes as a major shot across the company’s bows. Customer services for annuities will be severely affected on the strike days.
“We want the management to reconsider its decision which risks losing over 500 years of collective knowledge and experience in Reading."
He added: “Unite is willing to talk at any time, any place to achieve a fair settlement. We have already submitted a counter proposal asking the company to stop the offshoring.
“We don’t accept that you can only improve efficiencies by moving work to Mumbai which will have an adverse impact on customer/client relations.”
A Prudential spokesperson said: “From the outset, our stated aim has been to find as many alternative positions as possible for anyone impacted. This aim has not changed and we are regularly updating the union on the progress we are making in reducing the number of potential redundancies.
"The proposed escalation in industrial action will have no adverse impact on customers as we have proven contingency plans to enable us to maintain our service levels.”