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Further bad news for staff at Scottish call centres, but better payouts for redundant Visteon workers

Posted on Jun 11 2009
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Peterborough City Council may have to make 150 compulsory redundancies, after failing to reach its original job cuts target through voluntary departures. The council announced in February it had to make 400 redundancies, but so far only 250 posts have been lost through voluntary redundancy and natural staff turnover. John Peach, council leader, said yesterday the council was looking at various ways of shedding staff; compulsory redundancy was an option but it still wanted volunteers to come forward.

Engineering software group Aveva said today it was cutting about 80 jobs to counter a more difficult trading environment. The company's design software is used in construction of ships, oil rigs, nuclear power stations and chemical plants.

Thomas Cook said it plans to reduce staff numbers at its call centre in Larbert near Falkirk, Scotland. The news will affect 59 workers on temporary contracts. The travel firm is implementing a new telephone system to enable stores to deal with some calls previously dealt with by the call centre. The announcement is the second blow in a week for the town's call centre staff after TSC, based nearby, said 300 jobs were at risk.

High street car parts and cycles chain Halfords has announced it is closing its standalone cycle stores, just two years after they were launched. The stores trade as Bikehut or Cycle Republic and will either be rebranded as Halfords or closed, at a cost of £1.2m. Halfords said the pilot chains "have been impacted by the increasing success of our superstores in the premium market segment and the migration of sales to the web, particularly for accessories".

Visteon, the car parts firm, offered extra payments to former workers today in an attempt to resolve protests over redundancies. The firm has faced demonstrations and sit-ins over the past few weeks in Northern Ireland, Basildon in Essex, and Enfield, north London, after announcing 560 job cuts. Visteon UK went into administration on 31 March and union officals have been holding talks with the US-based management of the parent company, Visteon Corporation, in an attempt to secure improved redundancy packages. The company said its offer meant most of the former employees would receive an immediate cash payment equivalent to 16 weeks of their previous pay. It said further payments would be made later, increasing the total severance benefits to the approximate amounts former workers would have received under their most recent contract.

The recession has sparked a big jump in the number of fraudulent insurance claims, industry data suggested today. The number of of false claims last year was up 17% on 2007, and their value was more than 30% higher at £730m, compared with £560m in 2007, the Association of British Insurers said. A survey for the trade body also found that a fifth of people would not rule out making a fraudulent claim. The association said the figures showed fraud "thrives" during a downturn.

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