HCL job losses – Assembly must intervene

425 HCL workers in BT contracts were told their jobs were to go with only a few hours notice before it was announced to the press. The Armagh based centre is due to close at the end of the 90 day so-called consultation process while the future of the Belfast site is in serious doubt.

Workers entitled to redundancy pay will receive the basic statutory amount and not a penny more. This will have been reduced by last year’s wage cuts. The majority of workers will not have accrued the minimum of two years and are entitled to nothing under the current law.

It is within the Assembly’s power to strengthen redundancy law, scrap the two year ceiling for entitlement and give workers redundancy pay they can live off while they search for another job.
These job losses are taking place simply to boost the company’s profits. The Indian company last year increased revenue by 27.8% and has received £5.1 million in subsidies from Invest NI. The accounts of HCL, Invest NI and related companies like recruitment agencies must be examined by the workforce’s consultation committee to determine exactly why workers are being thrown on the dole and what alternatives could be put in place.

The Assembly Executive could save these jobs. There is money and work available for these workers. The Department of Health has recently awarded HCL a contract worth £18 million for HR and payroll. The Assembly could nationalise this contact centre and create work for former HCL employees carrying out public services, rather than letting the unemployment figures rocket up.

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