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MEPs approve €5.4m funding to retrain TalkTalk workers

The European Parliament has approved an application from Ireland for funds to retrain the call centre staff sacked last year.

Image: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT has approved proposals to allocate €5.4 million to retrain the workers in Waterford who lost their jobs with the closure of the TalkTalk call centre.

MEPs voted this evening to allocate an the funds from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund, after an application from the Irish government.

The motion put before MEPs by the parliament’s budgets committee pointed out that the south-east had had “persistently higher than average levels of unemployment compared to the rest of the country”.

They were also told that the regional unemployment rate had jumped from 4.9 per cent at its lowest four years ago to 18.2 per cent in 2011 – significantly higher than the 14.3 per cent average from last year.

The resolution adopted by MEPs said they regretted the decision of TalkTalk to form alliances with three call centre operators from outside the EU, meaning that the jobs were not simply being transferred elsewhere in the EU but to the wider world.

The resolution also complemented the Irish government for submitting the documentation for the funds in a “speedy and accurate” manner.

Nearly 600 staff were laid off at the plant twelve months ago, with funds being sought to retrain about four-fifths of them.

Sinn Féin senator David Cullinane, who is from Waterford, welcomed the approval.

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“A lot of work has been done by the minister [Ciarán Cannon], departmental officials, former employees and local and regional public representatives to make this a reality,” he said.

“It is vital that the funding is used in a targeted and proactive way to ensure facilitation back into the workforce for those who lost their jobs.”

Read: Ex-TalkTalk workers to begin upskilling programme

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Gavan Reilly

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