Belfast Telegraph

Monday 20 October 2014

Stream Global jobs welcome boost, even if there are concerns

The creation of 1,000 new jobs at Stream Global Services in Belfast is not just any old jobs announcement, this is an M&P (Martin and Peter) jobs announcement.

There was no sign of Helen Mirren or Mylene Klass – regulars of the M&S advertising campaign – at yesterday's Press conference, but the presence of First and Deputy First Ministers Robinson and McGuinness meant we knew it was going to be a big one.

The last time the duo had turned up, at what is essentially an Enterprise Minister's gig, was when US firm Allstate revealed its plans to take on 650 new staff.

As it turned out, the number of jobs blew the Allstate announcement out of the water and even surpassed the 800-odd posts created when Canadian aerospace company Bombardier said it was setting up its C-Series wing factory in 2009.

There can be no arguing that creating nearly 1,000 jobs is impressive by any standards and, as Mr Robinson said, is doubly impressive for a region of Northern Ireland's size.

As with any deal, you can pick holes in it if you want to.

The salaries, at around £14,000 for the bulk of the positions, are certainly well below the Northern Ireland average.

But Stream will still find a willing audience of job hunters who wouldn't sign up with the US firm if they could find better paid posts.

And there's been hackles raised over the fact Stream previously ran an inbound call centre in Londonderry, up until a few years ago.

But in the ups and downs of the world of business, that base shut down when a big contract was lost and Stream finds itself back in Northern Ireland after the acquisition of LBM, a company which already had operations in Belfast.

And if you were really being picky, you could say that Stream's only here because of an Invest NI grant, but at £3,000 for each job, that represents pretty good value.

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