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Direct Line said the planned relocation is an attempt to keep up with its expanding business. A spokeswoman for the company said some IT staff would be able to transfer to the new IT operations centre in the Royal Bank of Scotland but confirmed that there would be job losses. The company has set up an employee consultation board, she added.
Unifi said up to 200 IT jobs, mainly in IT services, may go under the proposed move. The union also accused Direct Line of ignoring the wishes of staff during the consultation process.
"Direct Line does not recognise the union even though we have a lot of members in the Croydon office," said Rob MacGregor, national secretary of Unifi. "We are urging members not to co-operate with the consultative body."
MacGregor also claimed that Direct Line had not properly explained to staff the reasons for relocating IT operations.
"If we migrate our technology platform to RBS, there might be opportunities for staff to transfer or retrain. If that is unrealistic and a reason for that is presented, we will all accept it," he said.
When it was launched in 1985, Direct Line shook up the insurance world by selling directly to customers over the phone. In 2000, it launched an internet-based insurance service. It now has more than five million customers and it has expanded into Germany, Italy, Japan and Spain.