Facebook owner Meta will start laying off staff in Ireland today, with staff here braced for mass redundancies.
The cuts are set to primarily impact Meta’s 3,000 directly employed staff in Ireland, according to a source, although the scale of the lay-offs is not yet known. The company’s plans for its 6,000 contractors working in the Republic remain unclear. The company uses large numbers of contractors specifically to allow it to increase and reduce staff quickly as it requires.
The company is expected to follow Irish employment law, which requires consultation period and the Government to be informed of large scale lay-offs, among other requirements.
A Meta spokeswoman in Dublin declined to comment.
“We anticipate there is going to be a downsizing,” Mr Varadkar said as he arrived for the weekly meeting of Cabinet on Wednesday morning. He expressed confidence that Meta will adhere to Irish employment law and honour the requirement to pay full redundancy to all employees who will be let go.
Chief executive Mark Zuckerberg told several executives at the company of the plan on Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal reported citing people familiar with the matter. Mr Zuckerberg told executives he was accountable for the company’s missteps and that his over-optimism about growth had led to overstaffing, the newspaper reported.
According to the newspaper, Mr Zuckerberg described planned lay-offs across broad swathes of the company, with recruiting and business teams specified as among those facing cuts. A general internal announcement of the plans is expected around 6am Eastern Standard Time – 11am Irish time – on Wednesday. Employees will be informed they are losing their jobs through the morning.
Following the meeting with Mr Zuckerberg, company directors in numerous sections of the organisation reportedly began notifying their subordinates of the plans and reorganisations.
The job cuts, which are likely to affect Meta locations worldwide, may mean large lay-offs in Ireland.
Rumour of 1,000 job losses
Rumours have been circulating in recent weeks that the company could be seeking to shed up to 1,000 roles from its Irish operations, but sources inside Meta said that figure could not be substantiated.
Meta employs more than 3,000 people directly in Ireland, with an additional 6,000 people employed at operations across multiple sites including Meta’s international headquarters in Dublin, Clonee data centre in Co Meath and Reality Labs in Cork.
It is not yet clear how the Irish arm of the company will be affected by any planned job cuts. However, one area that could be adversely hit is contractors employed through a third party, a workforce that is designed to be scaled up or down according to business needs.
Other potential areas that could be hit are recruitment, sales and other support functions.
Meta has also put the brakes on its campus development in Ballsbridge, pausing the fit-out of its Fibonacci Square building as the pandemic pushed staff to a more flexible work environment. The Fibonacci Square building is phase four of the project; Meta is completing phase three.
At the end of September, Facebook announced a global hiring freeze for most roles across the company, which also applied to its Irish business.