‘They have our strong support:’ Mayor ‘saddened’ by London Life job cuts

London Life Insurance building on Queens Ave., London, Ont. Travis Dolynny / AM980 London

Employees of London Life and the community at large are coming to grips with Tuesday’s announcement of hundreds of layoffs.

The insurance company, with more than 100 years of history in the Forest City, will see about 430 jobs cut over the next two years in the city thanks to nationwide layoffs by its parent company Great-West Lifeco.

READ MORE: Cuts at Great-West Lifeco mean 430 London Life jobs will be slashed

London Mayor Matt Brown responded to the unexpected news.

“Our hearts go out to you,” said Brown.

“We certainly feel that London Life is a significant institution, a significant employer in our community. It has been for well over 100 years. Those most directly affected need to know that they have our strong support.”

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Brown said the news of the mass layoffs wasn’t expected.

“Anytime we hear news like this in our community, we’re surprised, we’re sad about the news, we’re concerned about the individuals affected, the families affected, everyone who works at London Life as well,” said Brown.

The Winnipeg-based parent company says the job cuts come as they work to transform their business in the face of heightened competition. In a news release, Great-West Lifeco said customers are demanding greater digital and mobile access to services and the company is becoming more cost sensitive.

READ MORE: Great-West Lifeco to slash 1,500 jobs over 2 years

“This involves everything from process redesign and automation, to looking for ways to optimize our real estate footprint,” said Great-West’s president and CEO Paul Mahon during a conference call Tuesday.

“It also involves adapting our workforce to acquire the skills needed to drive our business forward. Of course, this comes with difficult decisions.”

Mahon said a transformation to the company’s Canadian operations marks a new era that “will result in long-term benefits and strong returns for our customers, advisers, employees, and shareholders.”

There are around 3,300 employees at London Life’s offices in London, making it the city’s ninth-largest employer. The company was founded in 1874 and offers investment plans, retirement income plans, life insurance, and mortgages.

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In total, Great-West Lifeco will cut about 1,500 jobs, or 13 per cent of its 12,000 employees across Canada.

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