Scotland business

Hundreds of jobs at Kwik Fit Insurance under threat

kwik fit

More than 500 people face redundancy with the planned closure of the Kwik Fit Insurance Services office in Uddingston.

Belgium-based Ageas, which owns the firm, told staff it was consulting on closure by the end of next March.

Scottish Enterprise and the Scottish government are understood to be seeking another company which could use the insurance firm's contact centre skills.

Five years ago, the firm had more than 900 staff in North Lanarkshire.

It now employs 521 people at the Tannochside Business Park site.

'Difficult choices'

An Ageas spokeswoman said Kwik Fit Insurance Services had been "under pressure for some time" as a result of changes in the way people buy insurance and the way the personal insurance market now operates.

She added: "We have made a number of attempts to address this but they have not been sufficient to improve performance and address declines in workload.

"This means difficult choices have to be considered.

"Subject to employee consultation, we are proposing to close our Uddingston office next year.

"This is clearly very difficult news for our employees and is not a course of action we have taken lightly."

'Very disappointed'

Business minister Paul Wheelhouse said he was "very disappointed" to learn of the proposed closure.

He said: "I have already spoken with senior management at the parent company Ageas to underline our full support for the Uddingston site and its workforce, and to confirm that our enterprise agencies will work with them to explore all possible options for support to retain jobs at the site."

Image copyright @BBCAileenClarke
Image caption The business is owned by insurance company Ageas

He added: "Should any job losses proceed, we stand ready to assist those affected through our initiative for responding to redundancy situations, Partnership Action for Continuing Employment (PACE) and our Finance Sector Jobs Taskforce.

"I am keen to meet with North Lanarkshire Council to work together with them to ensure we support the local community and secure investment at the site."

'Task force' call

North Lanarkshire Council leader Jim Logue said the local authority would work closely with other agencies to ensure there is support for employees if a buyer is not found.

He added: "However, given the huge number of jobs at risk, I would call on the Scottish government to urgently establish a task force - jointly with the council - which can examine all the options and do whatever we can to find a buyer and support staff whose livelihoods are at risk.

"To that end, I have written to the first minister this afternoon to seek early discussions on how such a task force might work and to offer the council's support."

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