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Leading companies shed 200 jobs

AROUND 140 jobs will be cut at Vodafone Ireland and a further 60 are to be lost at one of the country's biggest financial services companies.

And Pizza Hut, one of the world's biggest restaurant firms, last night described the market as "very difficult" as the Revenue looked to wind up a number of firms relating to one of its main franchisors here.

Earlier, staff based at Vodafone call centres in Sandyford, Dublin and Dundalk, Co Louth, were informed that their jobs would be outsourced from August as a cost-cutting exercise.

The decision will affect 45 staff directly employed by Vodafone Ireland and 139 staff employed by a third-party contractor -- Rigney Dolphin.

However, the directly employed Vodafone staff will have the option of taking up another role in the company.

The call centre jobs are to be outsourced to Egypt, India and to a specialist centre in Co Cork.

One employee who did not wish to be named told the Irish Independent: "It is absolutely shocking to be treated this way.

"Many of us have been working for the company for more than two years and then we are told our jobs are gone by email.

"There was an air of disbelief in the office yesterday when the email came through."

Meanwhile, financial services company FEXCO is to axe 60 jobs at its facility in Cahirciveen, Co Kerry, on Tuesday, following the ending of one of its contracts.

A statement from the company said the contract -- which is understood to have been with Western Union -- was originally due to end in August 2010, but was extended to May of this year.

A statement from FEXCO said: "The contract's completion has been known for some time and has been communicated both internally and externally by the company."

FEXCO employs 1,500 people globally and 1,060 in Ireland at its two centres in Killorglin and Cahirciveen, Co Kerry.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for Pizza Hut said it was "no secret that trading conditions in Ireland are very difficult at the moment, and we are working with Q Co, our master franchisor, to find a solution for the few stores that have been hit the hardest".

The statement came after the Revenue Commissioners sought winding up orders against four companies: Q Co Franchising Ireland Limited, Q Co Retail Division Ireland Limited, Godfathers Pizza Holdings, and Godfathers' Pizza Leeson Street Limited.

Last night, a spokesman for Q Co said: "Economic conditions are very difficult in Ireland at the moment, and this has affected sales in some of our stores. We are working closely with Pizza Hut and hope to reach a solution soon."

Irish Independent