Tuesday 17 October 2017

How Talk Talk employees saw an opening after firm's closure

The sudden closure of the Waterford-based call centre Talk Talk last September with the loss of 575 jobs is perhaps the biggest blot in the sector's record.

However, industry sources are adamant that Talk Talk was an unfortunate once-off event and not the beginning of a trend.

On September 7 last Talk Talk announced that it would be closing its Waterford call centre, one of the biggest employers in the south-east with 575 jobs, in just 30 days.

The reaction to the unexpected announcement was first shock and then anger.

IDA Ireland, which is normally the soul of discretion in such matters, was as mad as hell and it didn't care who knew about it, with chief executive Barry O'Leary stating that Talk Talk's behaviour was "as bad as it gets in terms of company behaviour".

As if determined to prove the accuracy of Mr O'Leary's statement, Talk Talk also declined a request from Jobs Minister Richard Bruton to extend the 30-day notice period in order to give the IDA a better chance of finding another call centre operator to take over the Waterford facility.

Website

Talk Talk justified its decision to pull the plug on its Waterford call centre on the grounds that most of its customers were now using its website when contacting the company. It added that with not enough telephone work to go around, it was concentrating its call centre activities in the UK.

However, it's an ill wind that blows no good. Within a week of the closure announcement the CCMA (Contact Centre Management Association) was in Waterford with details of 150 vacancies in other call centres while many of the former Talk Talk staff also secured work at book retailer Amazon's Cork call centre.

In addition, some of the former Talk Talk management set up their own call centre company, Eistech. It announced in January that it was planning to create up to 200 jobs.

Talk Talk may be gone but many of its former workers who developed their skills while they were with the firm are now employed by other companies in the same sector.

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