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Impact on Northern Ireland Mitie jobs unclear over outsourcing plans

By Emma Deighan

Hundreds of Northern Ireland jobs could be at risk as outsourcing giant Mitie has confirmed around 480 jobs are being axed as part of its turnaround plan.

The business, which has its Northern Ireland headquarters in Dunmurry and a security hub in Lurgan, Co Armagh, is aiming to trim costs by £40m a year by 2020, with moves to simplify its corporate structure, outsource and automate some of its back office functions, and also overhaul its group-wide IT.

Mitie, which has been under pressure amid a string of recent profit warnings and accounts investigations, said jobs will go from its 53,000-strong workforce by the end of its financial year in March.

It would not comment further on the breakdown of those losses.

According to accounts for Mitie Ltd, in 2016 there were 292 employees working for the company in Northern Ireland.

In 2011 Mitie opened its security hub in Lurgan, creating 40 jobs. It is uncertain if this site or the Dunmurry headquarters will be affected.

Trade union Unite's national officer Rhys McCarthy said: "It is clear that Mitie has managerial problems at the top that have been brewing for some time and the investigation by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) relating to a 2016 profit warning does not engender confidence.

"We hope that workers are not paying with their jobs because of poor decision-making by senior management and questions over financial auditing - it would leave a sour taste in the mouth if they were."

Just weeks ago City watchdog the FCA launched an investigation into Mitie relating to a 2016 profit warning and the way the company presents financial information. The Financial Reporting Council has also launched an investigation into Deloitte's auditing of Mitie's books.

Mitie laid bare the impact of accounting issues in its full-year results in June, when it swung to a £58.2m loss after being stung by £88.3m of one-off costs after a review of its books.

Mitie's acting chief executive Peter Dickinson said: "Overall we are making steady progress in the transformation of Mitie ... transforming a large, diverse business such as Mitie is neither linear nor without challenges, but the programme remains on track."

Belfast Telegraph