90 workers under suspension at large city employer

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First Source Solutions, the Londonderry call centre operator at the centre of a growing industrial relations furore, says around 90 workers have been suspended and are being investigated for alleged breaches of company policies and procedures.

A First Source spokesperson said: “We can confirm that an internal investigation is underway in Derry/Londonderry as a number of policies and procedures may have been breached by members of staff.

“We are aware that a large number of employees have been affected by this and are keen to conclude the internal investigation as quickly as possible.

“We cannot comment on the detail of the investigation until it has been completed.”

The spokesperson added: “It has been reported by some media outlets that 138 staff are involved in this.

“These numbers are inaccurate and the figure is around one third less. Those involved have been suspended and are being investigated.”

Approximately 50 workers attended a meeting organised by trade union officials at the weekend.

Liam Gallagher, from Unite said: “We believe that they are being scapegoated.

“We believe, yes, there is a problem with this contract, we don’t believe that the problem arose from these workers, the problem arose elsewhere.”

Sky TV, the main First Source client served by the 1,120 workers at its Londonderry facility, has stated: “There is no evidence for us at this time to suggest that customers have been adversely impacted.

“We take all such allegations very seriously whenever customer data is involved and appropriate investigations are being undertaken.”

With regard to industrial relations, back in 2010 First Source told the Sentinel it had an established Employee Involvement Forum that met monthly and took input from all members of staff.

A spokesperson also said the company was happy for employees to join trade unions and if there were sufficient numbers a trade union could apply for recognition.

“If union representation meets the statutory level First Source will officially recognise the union,” the spokesperson said.