Axa, a French multinational insurance firm has announced the dismissal of 650 of its Belgian employees to take place starting in 2017. They attribute the cuts in part to ongoing low interest rates which have a particularly negative impact on the profit margins of life insurance policies. Administrative simplification is one of the other underlying reasons the company gives for making this decision. The plan foresees for example the transfer of group activities from Charleroi, Leuven and Eupen to Brussels. Given the nature of the company, the majority of the employees are white collar workers.
CEO Jef Van In said that a wide array of solutions will be available to avoid direct dismissals: early retirement, reductions in working time, retraining, etc. Trade union ACLVB has indicated that it does not expect this to be the final round of dismissals within the company. On top of the dismissals, remaining staff will see a reduction in pay and other fringe benefits.
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