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Fermanagh waits on 800 call centre jobs one year after deal

By John Mulgrew

Hundreds of new call centre jobs promised for Co Fermanagh have still not been created more than a year after a major Invest NI announcement.

The 800 posts by Teleperformance were to be added over a three-year period in Enniskillen and were announced in October last year.

The jobs are due to pay an average of £14,700 and are backed by £2.5m from Invest NI.

However, responding to an Assembly question from SDLP MLA Richie McPhillips, Economy Minister Simon Hamilton said: "Before Teleperformance can begin creating these new jobs major communications infrastructure works are required, including the construction of a new communications room which I understand was completed in June 2016."

Mr Hamilton also said that Teleperformance is "installing new telephone lines to meet their business needs".

He added: "Teleperformance requires two independent telecommunications exchanges and Enniskillen is only served by one.

"The company is therefore investing in a new line to the Enniskillen Exchange and then a separate line that would connect to the Omagh exchange via the BT backbone."

Earlier this month, the Belfast Telegraph revealed that in Fermanagh and South Tyrone just 9.25% of jobs which are promised for the region pay workers the Northern Ireland average wage. That's just 90 out of 972.

The biggest single jobs announcement in the area during the year was the 800 Teleperformance posts.

Mr Hamilton said: "The work for the first new line to the Enniskillen Exchange was completed in August 2016, work on a second line to the Omagh Exchange has still to be completed.

"This level of investment in infrastructure by the company is a clear commitment to the project, jobs and the area.

"It is important to note that this project was in addition to the deal announced in July 2015 that involved the transfer of Liberty Insurance staff to Teleperformance under the Transfer of Undertakings and Protection of Employment arrangements. The project has gone extremely well and 170 staff are now employed under the Liberty contract."

Invest NI said it had nothing to add to the minister's remarks.

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