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'I realised that I'd no job after logging on to Facebook

A YOUNG mother-of-one logged onto Facebook before leaving for work, and could barely believe the status updates that she was reading.

"I found out that I've got no job," said Kerry Mitchell outside Talk Talk in the IDA business park in Waterford yesterday.

There was no warning for the staff but by lunchtime, the word was out all over Waterford city that 575 jobs were to be axed by the British broadband and telecoms firm.

Staff were in the dark about what was coming -- so much so that some were still looking forward to the company's 10-year celebration with a party planned for them in England.

"They were going to fly us all out there and have a big party in a castle with a band and everything. We got an email about it but all the while, they were planning on cutting our jobs," said another shocked worker.

Another, Martin Byrne, looked shaken as he emerged from Talk Talk's call centre, unlocked his bicycle and cycled away from his livelihood.


Alan Butler's wife called him yesterday to say she heard his job was gone. "I was only on my way into work," he added.

He has a 10-month-old baby and a mortgage but he is now facing the prospect of joining the dole queue.

His colleague and mother-of-two Lisa Weldon has worked in Talk Talk for six "tough" years.

"When the company got fined (by Ofcom), we had people screaming down the phones, we done everything that we were asked and this is how we are being treated?"

She has a six-year-old in school and a 20-month-old toddler. "I have rent, bills, a car. I'm going to have to take the child out of nursery."

A woman arrived at the offices for a meeting she had been told to attend at 3.30pm -- only to find her co-workers outside the building in tears.

Staff were furious that they had previously been sent abroad to provide training to customer service agents in India and the UK.

Mervyn Marshall said: "We were told we were training people to improve the existing quality."

Mr Marshall had been sent to New Delhi for Talk Talk.

Now he must accept the bitter irony that the work done in Waterford will be done in Asia instead.

He has worked for the company for almost six years and is married with three children.

A family of three sisters and five cousins all lost their jobs yesterday because of the closure.

Married couples who both work at the call centre are also affected -- at least one couple may even decide to call off their wedding, which had been planned for next summer.

Fine Gael TD Paidi Coffey said the decision was a "bolt from the blue".

"It is a crushing blow. I know it's a young work force and I know many of them personally. I'd be concerned at how the company treated them."

Irish Independent