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Friday 24 February 2017

Talk Talk: IDA promises action but workers see little hope

Independent.ie reporters

Workers at
the Talk
Talk call
centre in
Waterford
yesterday
Workers at the Talk Talk call centre in Waterford yesterday
Workers gather outside Talk Talk in Waterford
Nigel Sullivan, human resources director of Talk Talk PLC, speaks to reporters

Efforts are already underway to find alternative jobs for the 575 people being made redundant from the Talk Talk plant in Waterford, the IDA said today.

Speaking on Morning Ireland, Barry O'Leary, Chief Executive of IDA Ireland, said Waterford is a gateway city, but there is huge international competition among countries to attract foreign direct investment.



However, Talk Talk employees’ representative Tom Phelan said that the workers felt the prospects for getting work in Waterford were not good and they were reeling from a “terrible blow”.



He said the 30 day notice given by Talk Talk was a very short time to do anything about their situation and it was a no warning announcement.



“If anything we expected the opposite. We thought we were safe as a site. We thought we were fit for the future,” he said.



The job losses of mainly young people would have a massive impact all over the region and the option of a transfer to the UK on offer from the company would only apply to a very small minority of people.



“It will be extremely difficult to find work. There’s nothing at all in Waterford,” he said.



The Government and the IDA say they were only informed yesterday morning of the decision by the UK-based company to close down its call centre in the IDA Industrial Estate in the city.



The UK-based company, which provides broadband and phone services, announced yesterday that it was closing its facility in the city within 30 days.



The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton has said he will visit Waterford in the coming days to meet with management and employees and the government will address the issue at today’s Cabinet meeting..



Waterford City Manager Michael Walsh said an analysis was needed to be carried out to find out why the southeast was underperforming in terms of employment compared to the rest of the country.



The decision to give workers just 30 days notice sparked anger from politicians and business leaders in Waterford.



The Mayor of Waterford, Pat Hayes, believes the unemployment situation in Waterford is now so serious that it requires Government intervention at the highest level.



Minister Bruton wants Talk Talk to provide a longer period to allow the Government to pursue alternative solutions..



The IDA is also being criticised for not doing enough for Waterford and the southeast, areas of which have some of the highest rates of unemployment in the country.

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