Page last updated at 12:52 GMT, Thursday, 30 July 2009 13:52 UK

MP 'shocked' by call centre blow

call centre
The call centre employs 500 people in Londonderry

Foyle MP Mark Durkan has said he is shocked by the scale of the job losses at a call centre in Londonderry.

On Wednesday, the 500-strong workforce at Stream International were told 250 jobs could go after the company lost a contract with the Post Office.

The company has said it will continue to look for new contracts.

"I wouldn't like to pretend that any of us are confident that any new contracts could offset the scale of the losses," said Mr Durkan.

"But we have to give every encouragement to the local Stream management who are involved in trying to find and get those other contracts."

Stream provides support services for technology companies. Staff working on the contract with the Post Office will be put on 90-days protective notice.

'Upsetting blow'

Employment Minister Sir Reg Empey has said he will work with other government departments to try to save the jobs and help the company find new contracts.

He said the news was an "upsetting blow" which would have a "significant knock-on effect on the local economy".

"The north west has already been badly hit by this global recession and this is a further distressing development," he said.

"I am aware that Invest NI is currently working with Stream management to try to secure new business to minimise the number of redundancies.

"My officials from the Employment Service will be in contact with the company to offer our full range of services, including providing on-site redundancy clinics."

A contract loss in February also led to some job losses.

The company currently employs about 500 people in Derry.

The company's managing director, Jeff Jennings, said these are "tough times for the call centre sector".

"One of our contracts is moving. We're not closing the place down, we're staying in Derry and we're going to go after new business," he said.

"We've got clients visiting us in the next few weeks. Hopefully we can turn it around."

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