Insurance giant Aviva is to axe 1,100 jobs in the latest blow to the finance industry.
The union Unite said it had been told offices in York and Norwich will be worst hit by the cuts, although other sites across the UK will also suffer losses.
Derek Simpson, joint leader of Unite, said: "The announcement by Aviva to cut 1,100 staff will cause alarm across the insurance industry.
"Today we see a scenario where a company that is continuing to deliver positive results is slashing the staff that have enabled them to weather the current financial storm.
"Unite is angry that Aviva is repeating what appears to be an annual exercise of cutting thousands of staff. It is unacceptable that once again shareholders received their full dividends, while the workers who brought the company this success are rewarded with job losses.
"The Aviva workforce is continuing to live under constant uncertainty about their future. Unite has been told that these job losses are unrelated to the economic downturn."
Norwich Union Life, which is owned by Aviva, later confirmed plans to cut 1,100 permanent jobs by the end of the year, while a further 590 contract positions would end in the next few months.
The impact on staff will be minimised by natural turnover and redeployment, while a number of vacancies have been closed, said the firm.
Most of the job cuts are in "business change" and IT, with the rest spread across other areas of the company, which is the UK's largest insurer.
Mark Hodges, chief executive at Norwich Union Life, said: "Our strategy over the last three years has seen us transform and simplify our business, leaving us well placed to face the challenges ahead.
"We have made significant progress in improving our operational efficiency and are also nearing completion on a series of major change projects. Unfortunately, this means that a reduction in the number of roles in the business is inevitable.
"Making decisions that affect our people is always difficult and we are fully committed to doing everything we possibly can to minimise the number of compulsory redundancies. Our priority now is to work with everyone affected by today's announcement and to support them however we can."
Norwich Union said it would now enter a consultation period with those affected by these changes.