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Union preps legal action as job fears loom at Direct Line

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Finance union UNIFI has launched a vicious attack on general insurer Direct Line for failing to give it formal recognition.

Nine out of ten staff at Direct Line's IT centres in Croydon and Pudsey near Leeds, have joined UNIFI in recent weeks, following fears that as many as 200 jobs could be lost as part of a general infrastructure review at Direct Line.

Although the company insists the review is not yet complete, UNIFI claims job security has been further threatened following the company's recent £1.1bn merger with insurance rival Churchill.

Speaking last month UNIFI negotiator Rob MacGregor told workers: "The first challenge for UNIFI is to ensure there are no compulsory redundancies. And if there are going to be job losses it is essential that people leave on good redundancy terms."

But the union has failed to win recognition at Direct Line despite approaching group chief executive, Annette Court, to agree voluntary arrangements to introduce collective negotiations for staff.

Now the union says it will take legal action to force the company to accept recognition rights for the union.

Speaking yesterday MacGregor said: "Rejecting our voluntary approach for recognition, when 90 per cent of the staff are members, is a really negative move for Direct Line.

"It's as if the new employment legislation of recent years has just passed them by.

"UNIFI is confident that with such a large majority, recognition will be gained through the legal process, but staff members must now be thinking to themselves what is the management trying to hide?" ®

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