Vodafone last night denied any decision had been made on whether the roles of more than 300 workers will be transferred to the North.
Yesterday, following a review of its contracted mobile call centre operations, Vodafone announced it was moving to a new customer care provider, Teleperformance, which has a base in Newry.
That function is currently carried out in Dublin and Dundalk by 26 Vodafone staff and 290 contract staff provided by Rigney Dolphin.
A Vodafone spokesman confirmed all the affected Dublin and Dundalk jobs would be transferred to Teleperformance under transfer of undertakings legislation. He also said staff would be employed on the same terms and conditions.
The Communications Workers Union accused Vodafone of exporting the jobs over the border, saying it had been told the staff would be required to move to Newry by the end of the year.
“Vodafone has yet again demonstrated that they are quite prepared to export the jobs of workers in the Republic of Ireland in the blind pursuit of an increased bottom line,” said CWU deputy general secretary Terry Delany.
“The company’s plans to export over 300 jobs in customer care in Dublin and Dundalk to Britain shows the callous disregard for the livelihoods and futures of Irish workers. This announcement follows Vodafone’s export of 140 jobs servicing Irish customers last year to Egypt and India.”
He urged Pat Rabbitte, the communications minister, to “immediately demand a reversal of this decision from Vodafone and a clear statement that the company will recognise the business benefits it receives with a meaningful contribution to direct jobs in the Irish economy”.
However, Vodafone said no decision had been made yet on where the jobs would be based and pointed out that until the decision was made, they would remain in their existing locations. One Vodafone source pointed out that, of the total workers affected, 193 were based in Dundalk, which is less than 15 miles from Newry.
Vodafone and Rigney Dolphin are now entering into a consultation process with staff representatives.
Vodafone said Teleperformance provided a variety of care and support services to Vodafone Group in several markets, including Britain.
It said Teleperformance would bring the latest call centre technology, its global experience, and process expertise to Vodafone’s mobile care frontline.