AA poised to axe North East jobs in shake-up

The firm - which has a sizeable base in Newcastle - has been conducting a business review since last Summer

The AA building on Newcastle Business Park
The AA building on Newcastle Business Park

Up to 83 North East jobs are poised to be axed at the AA following a lengthy review of the business, the motoring organisation has confirmed.

The company, which employs 1,064 people at its sizeable operation in Newcastle, said consultations are now underway with staff at its offices across the UK.

On Tyneside, the firm is proposing to make 52 permanent posts redundant, while a further 30 vacancies will now no longer be filled. One contractor post will also be scrapped.

In all, some 300 mainly back office jobs are set to go across the Hampshire-headquartered business, which floated on the London Stock Exchange for the first time last June.

Yet a spokesman for the AA said nothing was set in stone.

He said: “It’s not a done deal yet. Consultations have only just started with the IDU and if other proposals come forward they will be considered.”

One of the main reasons for the shake-up is the announcement of a significant investment programme which will see millions of pounds ploughed into digital technology and the firm’s brand.

Investment in frontline positions are also set to be made.

The spokesman said: “Newcastle is primarily our insurance hub and these days more and more people are buying insurance in different ways – online – so we are investing across the board, and that means we need to make efficiencies in call centres and head office.

“But at the same time we are investing in patrols. We have taken on extra 50 since October and are looking to take on another 50.”

The spokesman said a 45-day consultation period is now underway and that managers were talking to staff as well as representatives from the IDU (Independent Democratic Union).

Union leaders with the IDU are currently on Tyneside for discussions with AA directors and those affected.

Alistair McLean, the union’s national organiser, said: “Any jobs losses in a community are going to have an impact and Newcastle is a very close community so this is a big loss.

“That said, the potential impact in Newcastle is not as great as we had feared because we had feared it was going to be more than 100 job losses.

“We think most of them will come through voluntary redundancies because a lot of staff members have been there a long time and the package being offered is quite good.

“The previous owners of AA didn’t invest for many years, so I think the new owners have come in and been in shock and are now putting a lot into new investments.

“I would like to think those investments would give a long term future for the hundreds of people who work in Newcastle.”

A statement released by the firm said the objective of these plans is to “ensure that the AA focuses its resources on its customers and members while operating as efficiently as possible”.

Bob Mackenzie, executive chairman of the firm, which employs 8,022 across the UK, added: “The AA’s level of service is highly regarded, which is reflected in its status as the UK’s most trusted commercial brand. It is our intention to continue to serve the needs of the motorist as comprehensively as possible.

“Our plan is to strengthen the relationships we have with our 13 million customers and members by offering an enhanced experience. In achieving this objective, there will be a benefit to all our stakeholders.”

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