The Southeast and the Waterford area in particular has suffered a massive jobs blow after the announcement last week by British telephone company Talk Talk that it was closing its call center operation – and in the next thirty days.
A total of 575 workers are now facing the dole queue in a part of the country that is already a particularly hard hit jobs black spot.
“The manner in which the announcement was made and the extremely short notice given to staff and to the government reflects badly on the British-owned company. The imminent departure of the company emphasizes the precarious nature of foreign industrial investment and the urgent need for the Industrial Development Authority to promote a more robust indigenous sector, the Irish Times said in an editorial following the closure announcement.
The closure, and also the very short notice, prompted ire on the part of Taoiseach Enda Kenny, but an Irish Examiner report pointed out that Kenny’s government had admitted that it was powerless to prevent companies such as telephone giant Talk Talk from giving employees just 30 days notice before closing down.
“We are not a country that tries to tie up enterprise in a lot of regulatory (requirements), but you expect a certain approach from companies, and we do feel let down at the approach the company has taken,” said enterprise minister Richard Bruton.
Bruton said he had expressed his “extreme displeasure” to Talk Talk about the lack of notice given to both workers and the state, and had requested more time so that the Industrial Development Authority could seek to sell the facility as a going concern to another employer and so save the jobs.
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One thing that the government might do, according to reports, is speed up the proposed establishment of a technological university in the Southeast.
Education minister Ruairí Quinn told his cabinet colleagues last week that he was exploring the establishment of a “multi-campus technological university” in the Waterford area.