Updated: 04/07/17 : 07:20:39
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Fears for Sligo jobs as Axa axes 18 offices

In a move to be officially announced later today Axa Insurance is to close 40% of its offices in the Republic of Ireland as the company moves to centralise its operations in Derry/ Londonderry (Northern Ireland).

The Sligo branch is located on Hyde Bridge, pictured.

The decision by AXA to close 18 of its 42 offices is based on research that shows  54% of its customers favour phone-based purchases and 34% favour online, with just 9% keen on face-to-face interaction in their local branch.

The closures are due to come into effect next year.

The commercial decision means at least 100 staff will lose their positions, although the company says those impacted will be invited to participate in a redundancy scheme or consider redeployment options. What those options are were not outlined in a statement issued by the company last night.

Full briefings

A spokesman for Axa said the changes “are about providing the best possible service to our customers in the way that best suits them”.

Staff at Axa will learn of their futures today, with full briefings scheduled. The company said last night it had “begun engaging with unions” ahead of these briefings and would “work closely with staff and their unions to manage these changes with care and sensitivity”.

Axa Insurance Ireland operates across the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland with 57 branches, the bulk of them in the Republic. It is the largest motor insurance company in the market with in excess of 900,000 customers.

Axe Group employs more than 1,200 people in the Republic and over 400 people in the North. The company said its overall employee number “will not be impacted significantly as a result of these changes”.