Insurance group Hibernian is to embark on a major restructuring which will result in 580 positions being phased out of the company over a three-year period. The jobs will be going to India, where its parent company, UK insurer Aviva, already has operations.

In the first three months of next year, the work of 80 people will transfer to Bangalore in India. The staff affected will be offered re-location and re-deployment and, in some cases, voluntary redundancy. Hibernian said it would talk to workers and their union, UNITE, about the process.

Most of the staff cuts will focus on Hibernian's Dublin office in Hatch Street. The company says there will be little change in the overall number of staff working in Cork and Galway.

Most of the jobs concerned will be in back office and support services. Hibernian currently employs 2,200 people.

Unite, the union which represents most of the workers in Hibernian, expressed 'shock and anger' at the news.

National officer Jerry Shanahan said Hibernian had said it was committed to growth, particularly with the recent acquisition of health insurer Vivas. 'This will create increased demand for enhanced service levels which simply cannot be achieved by reduced numbers of staff,' he said.

The union has arranged meetings of members in Dublin, Cork and Galway to discuss today's news. Mr Shanahan said Unite would challenge the Hibernian's business case, adding that the company had not exhausted all the opportunities available to it.