Call for Govt to prevent transfer of Siemens Cork jobs to UK

20 Apr 2011

The Communications Workers Union has called for Enterprise Minister Richard Bruton TD to intervene in a dispute over the transfer of workers at Siemens IT Solutions in Cork to the UK.

Siemens IT Solutions has informed workers at its Blackrock call centre in Cork that it will no longer provide customer support services under its Yell contract and that these services will be provided by Yell in the UK.

It is understood that a transfer of undertakings will see the jobs of 24 workers located in Blackrock, Cork, transfer to the Yell facility at Reading in the UK.

On this basis, Siemens said a redundancy situation for the Blackrock workers does not arise.

According to the CWU, staff who have worked on the helpdesk for the past 11 years have been advised by Siemens to present themselves for work in Reading.

Services under the Yell contract are scheduled to cease on 2 May and will be provided by Yell in the UK from 3 May.

“Siemens are treating its Blackrock customer service staff with contempt by claiming that their jobs simply transfer to a location in the UK under a new employer,” said CWU general secretary Steve Fitzpatrick.

“Furthermore, this ‘new employer’ – Yell – has correctly rejected the Siemens version of what is happening.

“This incredible action by Siemens can only reasonably be interpreted as a blatant attempt by the company to avoid any obligations it has to make redundancy payments to its Siemens IT Solutions employees.”

The laws of the land

Fitzpatrick said a collective redundancy situation requires that consultations must take place at least 30 days before the notice of redundancy is given and that employers are obliged to inform the Department of Enterprise, Jobs and Innovation of planned collective redundancies.

“Siemens has failed to engage staff in consultation as required and in accordance with fair procedures this should include the selection, process and consideration of suitable alternative work.

“Workers are entitled to respect and compliance with the laws of the land by their employers.”

Fitzpatrick called for the early intervention and a clear statement by Bruton that such actions would not be tolerated and that employment rights legislation must be complied with in full.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years