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Train staff to vote on industrial action

Credit: pa

A ballot on strike action is opening for workers on Arriva trains in a dispute over pay.

Arriva took over Northern Rail routes last year.

Unions say the current pay offer from the company shows contempt for the staff.

But a spokesperson for the company said they're committed to investing in people and working towards a satisfactory conclusion.

The ballot by the Maritime and Transport Union is due to end on the 25th of January.


Ex offender earning honest crust baking bread

An ex offender who is now earning an honest living by making bread.

Francesca Barker fell in love with baking on a probation course after narrowly avoiding being jailed for fraud two years ago.

She's now opened up her second bakery in Manchester city centre and employs ex offenders determined to give others the second chance she was given.

Our correspondent Ashley Derricott went to meet her.


Hundreds of Aviva jobs at risk in Manchester as company closes three sites

Insurance giant tells workers that Greater Manchester bases will close by the end of next year Credit: PA Images

Hundreds of people in Greater Manchester are likely lose their jobs after Aviva announced the closure of three sites in the region.

It comes just a few weeks after Aviva took over Friends Life for £6.5 billion in the insurance industry's biggest ever merger.

The announcement puts at risk 780 workers at Aviva's Stretford, Salford Quays and Manchester Albert square offices.

Workers were told today they will leave the base at Salford Quays by the end of next year. In a statement Aviva said:

“When we announced the acquisition of Friends Life we said that we would inform our people about any changes which impact them as soon as possible. So today we have updated our people about proposals to focus our operations on a number of core locations in the UK.

We have previously said that we expect to deliver approximately £225 million of annual savings by the end of 2017 as a result of the Friends Life acquisition. Savings are expected to come from a number of areas, including simplifying the business and reducing property costs.

As part of our proposals, we have today informed employees that we will exit our Salford Quays office by the end of 2016.

In addition, we have announced that Aviva’s motor claims work carried out in our Stretford and Manchester Albert Square offices will move to Norwich by the end of December 2016.

Aviva will continue to have a trading presence in Manchester and some employees based in Albert Square will move to a new city centre office.

We appreciate this is disappointing and difficult news and we are helping our people through this process, providing a range of support and advice, and consulting with employee representative bodies about these changes.

The changes will happen between now and the end of 2016 and we will look to minimise the impact by offering redeployment opportunities where possible.

Any role reductions which may occur as a result of Aviva’s integration of Friends Life will form part of the potential reduction of 1,500 roles we announced in January 2015.”

– Aviva statement