Talk Talk holds €2.3m bash but refuses to delay closure
THE company closing a call centre in Waterford with the loss of almost 600 jobs has refused to back down on its plan to give just 30 days' notice to the axed employees.
Jobs Minister Richard Bruton will meet today with some of the Talk Talk call-centre workers being made redundant, as the Government tries to put pressure on the firm to delay its withdrawal from Ireland.
However, the telecoms giant is highly unlikely to back down, with CEO Dido Harding standing firm on the closure.
Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore revealed he had spoken to Ms Harding on the phone but that the 30 days' notice "stands".
The Labour leader met employees in Waterford on Saturday. He also said that no advance notice of the decision was given to the Government.
Mr Gilmore denied that Saturday's meeting was an attempt to upstage Mr Bruton's already publicised visit to the call centre today. "We are as one on everything we do," he said. "This is a co-ordinated government effort."
Measures taken by the Government after the job losses include seeking an alternative use for the Waterford site; putting social welfare supports in place for workers; and "looking at how the education and training needs of the workforce" can be met.
Mr Gilmore acknowledged that Waterford and the region had been "very badly hit" by unemployment, with a "large number of very, very big job losses". Unemployment in the south-east is more than 17pc.
Meanwhile, Talk Talk held an all-expenses paid function for 3,000 staff at the weekend -- running up a €2.3m bill just days after announcing it is to pull out of Ireland.
Bosses are keen to boost morale at the company following massive lay-offs in the past year due to outsourcing to cheap labour markets in the Philippines and India.
Only a dozen workers travelled from Waterford to attend the event at Capesthorne Hall near Cheshire.
Indie band the Noisettes and rapper Tinchy Stryder performed, while Irish rockers Kodakid were also invited on stage. Two members of the band worked at the call centre in Waterford and they appealed to management to "look after" the redundant workers. However, their pleas did not prompt any response.
It was Talk Talk's first 'Great Getaway' event for employees, but for the small number of Irish staff who travelled over, it will be their last.