Staff keep vans as Eircom cuts 830 more jobs
AROUND 830 workers are set to depart their jobs under Eircom's latest round of redundancies – with an unusual 'sweetener' being offered to some staff.
Over 200 workers will be allowed to keep their company vans under the new exit scheme in a move that will bring back memories of the old orange Posts & Telegraphs vans still being driven by 'civilians' up until the 1990s.
In addition, many staff will be allowed to leave as soon as December 31 – to allow them to qualify for the Top Slicing Relief, which ensures that their lump sum is not taxed at a rate higher than the average rate of tax paid by them over the three years prior to their redundancy. The relief measure will be scrapped from January 1, 2014, under the Government's Finance Bill.
The voluntary redundancies are part of Eircom's restructuring announced last year, which will see 2,000 staff depart the company by June 2014.
Following a 'collective agreement' approved by the company's management and representatives of the Communications' Workers Union, staff will leave under an incentivised exit scheme phased in over 12 months, though some will see their employment terminated as soon as December 31.
A company spokesperson last night described the latest round of redundancies as being 'no shock or surprise', since it is part of the target set by Eircom last year to shed 2,000 workers by June 2014.
"We have already achieved more than 800 of that," the spokesperson said.
The new redundancies will affect a number of different parts of the business, including some field technicians.
Last Wednesday saw the closing date for applications for the voluntary redundancy scheme. The applications will now be assessed by management to determine the number of people who will be leaving.
According to a statement from Eircom, staff who qualified have received one-to-one consultations to explain the options open to them.
They said the company will confirm the applications to the early retirement scheme by the end of November.
Last year, it was announced that Eircom was to axe nearly two-thirds of its workforce in a move to accelerate cost-cutting measures.
The firm, which then employed 5,700 people, was implementing changes including modernisation of work practices and consolidation of under-utilised offices around the country in order to tackle its €2bn debt under its new chief executive Herb Bribar.
Last June, documents were uncovered which showed that Mr Bribar and other top brass at the company were in line to net a shared bonus pot of €60m if they can turn around the telcommunication firm's flagging fortunes.