Stoic Eir staff take job cuts in their stride

 Sonja Booysen, who has worked with Eir for over 17 years, leaving  Group HQ at Heuston South Quarter after news of 750 redundancies was announced. Photograph: Alan BetsonThe Irish Times

Sonja Booysen, who has worked with Eir for over 17 years, leaving Group HQ at Heuston South Quarter after news of 750 redundancies was announced. Photograph: Alan BetsonThe Irish Times

 

Workers leaving Eir headquarters on Thursday were reluctant to discuss the announcement of 750 jobs cuts but there was a sense of relief at least that lingering uncertainty had been ended.

They emerged from the glass tower near Heuston train station in Dublin after 5pm, not long after cost-saving plans at the company emerged.

Some saw the voluntary redundancy deals as a positive, while others said those in an older age group might be less likely to take up the offer.

Sonja Booysen (53), a native of South Africa who has worked for Eir for 17 years and was brought to Ireland by the company, said the announcement had laid uncertainty to rest.

“I am lucky that there is quite a lot of IT work out there so I don’t think it will affect me badly,” she said, although working to retirement with the telecoms firm would have been her ideal path.

“We heard rumours about it for a long time,” she said, explaining a sense now of it being “up and down: do I want to go, don’t I want to go?”

“I think because we had the rumours for a while there, people was actually happy that everything was confirmed now and that we know what is going on rather than, you know, the uncertainty.”

Angela, another long term employee, in this case of 37 years, said there had been a sense of concern in the build up, but that “worry” might have been putting it too strongly.

“It is what it is. You kind of expect it when there is a takeover,” she said. “When somebody new comes in they obviously always want to streamline their new business.”

The effect of the news on workers, she explained, “would depend on the individuals and their age groups and things like that...plenty to think about, put it that way.”

Two young employees, speaking anonymously, were eager to stress the positives - both of the response of colleagues and of the voluntary nature of the redundancies.

“It was always coming so it doesn’t really come too much as a surprise,” one of them said. “But I suppose we are taking the messages in now...it’s a bit up in the air. Everyone’s circumstances are different.”

He described the mood as being quite positive with a “relief that we are finally getting information”, although he hasn’t decided whether to take the offer on the table.

His female colleague added: “It is kind of an end to all of the rumours that have been going around. People are just kind of relieved that it is out and it is a lot more positive than people were thinking, it’s not negative.”

Some contract workers, although not directly affected by the Eir job cuts, said the overall uncertainty around the company and its takeover had also affected their situations.

Vicky Macaria, who works in customer support, said she had felt compelled to look for another job, the duration of the contract work too uncertain.

“There are girls in my team who can’t get a house permanently because when they are put on their contract they can’t say that, ya I have a permanent job - it’s temporary constantly,” she said.

Of the mood in the building among general staff she said it was “just a lot of whispers today. I’ve never felt that kind of atmosphere here.”

A colleague, Chelsea, had already been made redundant but was rehired.

“I knew that there was new owners coming in and that there was going to be budget cuts. I didn’t think it was going to affect me directly but it did,” she said.

“[Staff] are taking it hard but I suppose they are putting a smile on.”