Government pressure is being resisted by a call-center to delay its withdrawal from Ireland after unexpectedly giving just 30 notice days to 575 staff that they are losing their jobs in Waterford.
Telecom giant Talk Talk’s chief executive officer Dido Harding is standing firm on the company’s decision.
Devastation swept Waterford, still shaking from the loss of jobs when the city’s crystal company transferred most of its production out of Ireland two years ago.
Talk Talk said call volumes had fallen by 40% year-on-year as more customers opted to deal with support issues online.
The majority of business in the Waterford call center would be moved to other companies contracted to do the work earlier this year. There might be an opportunity for about 80 employees to relocate to another facility in the United Kingdom.
A Talk Talk statement said, “As our largest in-house site, the proposed closure of Waterford allows us to reduce complexity, simplify our skill sets and bring benefits to customers as quickly as possible. Waterford is our only site that operates with the euro, and the proposed change will therefore also limit our exposure to exchange rate fluctuations.”
The firm, which manages the customer support function for Talk Talk customers based in the U.K., was one of the biggest employers in the southeast.
The company first established a base at Waterford in 1998 employing 30 people. It employed over 700 people at one stage, although that number fell to 575 following the loss of a number of support jobs earlier this year.
Workers spoke of their anger at how they traveled abroad to train staff who will now be taking over their jobs. Paul O’Brien said he had made a number of trips to Preston in the U.K. to train employees there. At the time, he had no idea the Waterford facility would be closing.
“We were told that it was in case we got busy, that they would be a backup. But all along we were training them to take our jobs,” he said.
Details have also emerged of the lavish €2.3 million party for 3,000 the company held in at Capesthorne Hall in Cheshire for its U.K. and Ireland staff over the weekend. Some 350 workers at the Waterford facility had signed up to travel to the U.K., but only a few attended after the redundancies were announced.
Bosses said they were keen to boost morale at the company following massive lay-offs in the past year due to outsourcing to cheap labor markets in the Philippines and India.