Talk Talk decision 'devastating' - Kenny

Thursday 08 September 2011 22.11
Govt, IDA say they were only informed of the situation yesterday morning
Govt, IDA say they were only informed of the situation yesterday morning

It is understood that workers with more than two years service at the Talk Talk call centre in Waterford have been offered redundancy payments of four and a half weeks pay per year of service.

575 workers are to lose their jobs after the company announced it is to close the facility in a month's time.

Members of Talk Talk management met workers at the call centre this afternoon to discuss redundancy terms.

The Taoiseach has described the decision by Talk Talk as "devastating" and said the short notice given was discourteous.

The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton has said he understands the anger and frustration of the workers, and added the decision to close within 30 days was too abrupt and unfair to people.

IDA Ireland Chief Executive Barry O'Leary has said the way the Talk Talk closure was handled showed a lack of respect for the workforce who had performed well for the company over a number of years.

Mr O’Leary added that it is not what you would expect in business today.

He said he cannot recall any case where so little notice was given involving so many job cuts.

While most corporations have good standards of corporate responsibility, it is clearly not the case here, Mr O'Leary added.

Earlier, Taoiseach Enda Kenny strongly criticised management of Talk Talk for the short notice they gave that their Waterford facility was closing.

Speaking on his way into a conference at Croke Park, Mr Kenny said the least they could have done is give some signal in advance that such a devastating move was planned 'to allow agencies to look around'.

He said it was discourteous and that the people and workforce of Waterford served the company well.

The IDA has said it has begun efforts to find alternative employment for the 575 people being let go from Talk Talk.

The UK-based company, which provides broadband and phone services, announced yesterday that it was closing its facility in the city within 30 days.

Mr Bruton is to visit Waterford on Monday to meet management and employees.

He said the matter was discussed at cabinet today and he is awating a response from Talk Talk to his request to give more time to find replacement employment.

IDA accused of not doing enough for Waterford

Speaking on Morning Ireland, Barry O'Leary said Waterford is a gateway city but there is huge international competition among countries to attract foreign direct investment.

The Government and the IDA say they were only informed yesterday morning of the decision by the UK-based company to close down its call centre in the IDA Industrial Estate in the city.

Waterford City Manager Michael Walsh said analysis was needed to find out why the southeast was underperforming in terms of employment compared to the rest of the country.

Much of the anger coming from politicians and business leaders in Waterford last night was aimed at the decision to cease operations within 30 days.

Mayor of Waterford Pat Hayes believes the unemployment situation in Waterford is now so serious that it requires Government intervention at the highest level.

The IDA is also being criticised for not doing enough for Waterford and the southeast, areas which have some of the highest rates of unemployment in the country.

Mr Bruton said he has directed the IDA and Enterprise Ireland to promote the region while Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn has indicated that there will be accelerated work on the possibility of creating a technological university for the southeast.