Tánaiste Leo Varadkar is to be briefed this coming week on the risk of Irish jobs being threatened by a “tech reset” – or economic slowdown for large technology companies – in the multinational sector.
It comes after last week saw job losses were signalled at the Dublin offices of Twitter, the social networking site, and payments firm Stripe, co-founded by Irish brothers John and Patrick Collison.
Inward investment agency IDA Ireland, as well as potentially Enterprise Ireland, are to brief Mr Varadkar – perhaps as early as Monday – on the potential impact of changes in the tech sector and how it might affect Irish foreign direct investment.
A spokesman for the IDA said it will “meet with the Tánaiste to discuss latest developments within the tech sector”.
The meeting is expected to address the risk of an impact on headcount at the Irish operations of tech multinationals, a source said. A second well-placed source said the intention was to “take stock of where we are with job losses and prospective job losses in the tech sector”.
A third warned that there had been a “rush to doomsday” following last week’s news, and said the meeting would also assess the strengths of the economy and employment market.
But there is concern over both the nature of the job losses at the two companies and what they may represent.
There is uncertainty over the precise scale of the job losses, and the Department of Enterprise said on Saturday that neither company had informed it of any decisions to begin laying off Irish staff. Irish employment law requires a company that wishes to engage in collective redundancy to inform the Minister for Employment – Mr Varadkar – 30 days before any dismissals take place. Senior sources were on Sunday reserving judgment on whether any breaches of employment law had occurred.
In a statement, Stripe said it was in a “process of consultation and will be writing to the Minister in line with its legal requirements”. The company has said it will be making about 14 per cent of its global workforce redundant, but has not yet provided a breakdown for specific offices or regions.
Collective redundancy processes also require companies to consult with elected employee representatives with a goal of mitigating consequences.
Twitter did not respond to a request for comment on the scale of the redundancies, when employees were officially informed, when their termination will take effect, or why the department had not been informed. A significant proportion of the company’s communications staff is said to have been impacted by the job losses globally.
A Twitter employee told The Irish Times that there is a “genuine level of trauma among the workforce by the manner in which this is being handled”. An employee said the situation was a “complete s**tshow” and sources said it was not clear even to those within the company who still had their job at the social networking giant, which was acquired last month by Elon Musk, the South African-born billionaire.
Twitter staff woke on Friday morning to find their offices had been closed and access to its IT systems had been shut off in “order to protect the security of our confidential information and user data”.
Expectations were that more than half its 500 workers in Dublin were to be axed.
The company sent communications to the personal emails of staff at threat of being made redundant. The notice stated that “does not mean that we have made any final decisions in relation to this process or your role”, adding that they would have the opportunity to “express their views” via “employee representatives” who would be elected by staff shortly.
The communication to staff in Dublin who are at risk of redundancy, seen by The Irish Times, said they would receive statutory redundancy, plus an “ex gratia payment of an additional month’s salary”, plus two weeks’ salary per completed year of service.
In Ireland, statutory redundancy amounts to two weeks of pay per year of service plus an additional week of pay, for those who have been in employment for two years or more.