Saturday 24 February 2018

Talk Talk staff got 'thanks a million' one day before boot

Eimear Ni Bhraonain

STAFF at Talk Talk in Waterford were sent an email pep-talk about hitting targets just 24 hours before the shock announcement that the call centre would close.

"Thanks a million," the staff were told as they were given figures showing that their rate of keeping customers was at an "all-time high".

They were also offered an incentive of winning a luxury holiday in Dubai, including a desert safari and the chance to "swim with dolphins".

Staff said they were "confused" and "angry" because the email was sent when Talk Talk was planning on making all 575 workers on site redundant.

The email, sent to a group of the Waterford staff at 2pm on Tuesday, would indicate that Wednesday's announcement came even as a shock even for some management in Ireland.


Last night, the IDA confirmed to the Irish Independent that "approximately €2.5m" in total was paid to Talk Talk across 2008 and 2009. An IDA spokeswoman said the grants were given in light of the fact that Talk Talk was worth €20m to the Irish economy.

She said the grants were given as an "incentive" to stay in the country.

The IDA also revealed that an undisclosed sum was sanctioned for a training grant for Talk Talk in June but the firm never drew down the cash.

Today, British employees of the firm will gather in the luxury Capesthorne Hall near Macclesfield in Cheshire, England, for a company family day dubbed the Great Getaway.

Meanwhile, staff in Waterford are still reeling from the news that they will be on the dole within a month -- with much of their work outsourced to Asia.

Talk Talk chief Dido Harding defended her decision to go ahead with the staff event -- and told Irish staff that they were "welcome" to attend, adding that they would cover the transport and entertainment costs.

In an email to staff yesterday, Ms Harding wrote: "I personally debated this one long and hard.

"We have been talking about having a One Company get-together for 18 months, since we became an independent company.

"So, as The Getaway has been planned and booked for a long time, in the end we decided that it should go ahead."

"Many of our colleagues at Waterford have booked to attend and I hope that you will still come. I suspect some of you won't want to now -- which would be totally understandable," she added.

However, most redundant workers who had been due to go have since pulled out.

Negotiations continued in the Talk Talk facility in the IDA business park in Waterford yesterday over redundancy terms.

Meanwhile, it has also emerged that Talk Talk refused to bring work back in-house when its partner in Cape Town, Stream, announced it was no longer profitable and made its workers redundant in June.

Talk Talk said it had opted to transfer the South African calls to their outsourced partners in India and the Phillippines.

Irish Independent

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