Eir to cut 750 jobs following takeover

By Pádraig Hoare

Eir has announced its intention to cut more than 750 jobs, just days after a consortium led by French billionaire investor Xavier Niel completed its majority takeover of the company.

There have been fears that up to 1,000 jobs could be at stake since Eir announced, in December, that a consortium led by Mr Niel’s NJJ Telecom group was to take a majority stake.

Eir said it had proposed a “voluntary incentivised exit scheme” seeking to reduce its employee headcount by 750, in order to cut costs.

The company has cut more than 2,000 jobs in the past few years, leaving around 3,200 currently employed.

“This has been launched in an effort to deliver cost savings and create a leaner, more agile organisation. In parallel, the company plans to simplify its products and business processes,” a spokesman said.

Eligible staff have already or will shortly receive correspondence with a “personalised financial estimate for their consideration”, Eir said.

The spokesman said a “large percentage” of the company’s field force is not eligible. He added that the Government and union representatives had been informed.

The company said its national broadband programme would continue unaffected.

“The announcement does not in any way impact on the company’s ability to deliver on its recent contractual commitments in respect of our commercial rural rollout of fibre to the home to 300,000 homes and businesses,” the spokesman said.

Fórsa trade union said it was seeking immediate engagement with senior management at Eir.

The union represents IT staff, some management grades, and clerical officers

at the company

.

Fórsa assistant general secretary Eugene Quinn said the announcement followed widespread speculation about job losses following the recent change of ownership.

“We’re obviously very concerned that more jobs are to be shed from the company. The indications from our members are that the company is seeking voluntary — not compulsory — redundancies. That would be in line with agreements we have in place to provide very strong protections for our members against forced job losses,” he said.

The latest takeover of Eir was originally agreed in December. NJJ has taken a 32.9% stake in Eir. French-listed telecommunications firm Iliad — of which Mr Niel owns 52% — owns 31.6%.

Existing Eir shareholders, US hedge funds Anchorage Capital and Davidson Kempner, have retained a combined 35.5% share in the company.

Mr Niel will sit on the

company’s

new board, along with non-executive chairman, An Post CEO, David McRedmond. Eir announced Carolan Lennon as new CEO in February.



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