Firstsource: Job Loss Fears In Belfast And Londonderry

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It is feared that up to 500 jobs could be at risk at the firm Firstsource, affecting its Belfast and Londonderry call centres as well as remote workers.

The Indian-owned company said it had "commenced a redundancy consultation process" at its Belfast and Derry sites.

It said it was due to the "changing priorities" of one of its clients, the entertainment giant Sky.

Foyle assembly member Gary Middleton met senior management on Thursday.

"Due to a decision taken by Sky, 200 employees at the Springtown site, 100 employees in Belfast and 200 homeworkers are affected and undergoing the redundancy consultation process," the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) representative said.

"I have been informed that the consultation process will last three months and that the priority will be to look at options to safeguard the jobs, support employees and source additional contracts."

Mr Middleton added: "The additional 370 employees at the Springtown site remain unaffected."

In 2019 the firm employed close to 2,000 staff in Northern Ireland.

In a statement, a Firstsource spokeswoman said: "The changing priorities of one of our clients, Sky, means they are making proposals to adjust services currently being delivered across both sites."

She added: "Staff impacted have been informed today and, as a responsible employer, we are working closely to support them throughout this process."

Firstsource was, she said, "committed to Northern Ireland at both sites".

'Confusion and distress'

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood said he had been in contact with a number of staff at the Derry site.

The redundancy process "is worrying for employees and their families and has caused unwarranted confusion and distress," he said.

"I have contacted the management of Firstsource requesting an urgent meeting to discuss their plans and their continued commitment to workers in Derry," the Foyle MP added.

Foyle Sinn Féin MLA Pádraig Delargy said he was also seeking a meeting with the company's management.

"This has created huge uncertainty for workers and their families today who are worried about what the future holds," he said.

"Firstsource currently employs hundreds of staff across the city, and any job losses at this site will be a blow to the local economy."

'External market factors'

A spokesman for Invest NI said it had been unaware of the job risks.

"Invest NI was not made aware of the announcement in advance and will be engaging with the company imminently to mitigate the potential impact on the NI operations," he said.

"Any redundancies that may arise from this announcement are regrettable and our thoughts are with the staff at this time. We understand that the situation has arisen as a result of external market factors that have impacted Firstsource's operating environment, including economic challenges," he added.