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Final insult as TalkTalk may charge workers for flights to UK party

TalkTalk workers who fail to turn up at tonight's luxury celebration party in England may be billed for flights and other charges, it has emerged.

The 575 staff at the Waterford offices, who were told they are losing their jobs, were also sent a "pep-talk" email about hitting targets, just 24 hours before the shock announcement that the call centre would close at the end of the month.

The "thanks a million" email also offered an incentive to win a luxury holiday in Dubai and the chance to "swim with dolphins".

Today the company went ahead with a big social day in England for all its staff, despite the bad news delivered to Waterford workers.


"Employees in Waterford are still most welcome to come," said a company spokesperson. "Of course we understand some of them may choose not to."

Asked if anyone who cancelled would have to pay for their ticket, he said "that's rubbish", but warned that if pre-booked staff did not inform the company of the cancellation before the party, there might be charges. "If people say they're coming and don't turn up, we'll have to take a look at that."

The congratulatory email was sent to a group of Waterford staff at 2pm on Tuesday, just hours before the closure announcement.

The IDA has confirmed that about €2.5m in total was paid to TalkTalk across 2008 and 2009 in grants. A spokesperson said the grants were given in light of the fact that the company was worth €20m to the Irish economy and 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 TalkTalk in June, but the company never drew down the cash.

Meanwhile as the celebration party got under way in the UK today, TalkTalk chief Dido Harding defended her decision to go ahead with the staff event.


She said Irish staff had been told they were "welcome" to attend. In an email to staff yesterday she 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.

Enterprise Minister Richard Bruton is due to visit Waterford on Monday to meet workers. He will also meet local politicians and business interests to discuss the worsening employment crisis in the region.