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Hundreds of Jobs at Risk as Sky UK Scale Back Firstsource Sites

Thursday, May 25th, 2023 (3:26 pm) - Score 9,584
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Indian-owned Firstsource Solutions have confirmed that there has been a change in their long-running contract with Sky, which could result in up to 200 jobs being lost across their sites, such as in Belfast, Derry and Derby. The redundancies are likely to impact those working for NOW Broadband (NOW TV) sales, Sky service and Sky sales.

A spokesperson for Firstsource said: “Firstsource has [today] commenced a redundancy consultation process with a number of colleagues at its Belfast and Derry/Londonderry sites. The changing priorities of one of our clients, Sky, means they are making proposals to adjust services currently being delivered across both sites. Firstsource will continue to work with Sky. Staff impacted have been informed today and as a responsible employer, we are working closely to support them throughout this process. Firstsource remains committed to Northern Ireland at both sites as we continue to deliver a range of services for our outsourcing clients.”

According to ISPreview’s own sources, staff at the sites in N.Ireland will go through a 90-day consultation period, ahead of any redundancies being confirmed, while those on the mainland will follow the usual 45 days. The sources claim that Sky intend to move the jobs to India and Bulgaria. We have requested a comment from Sky and are waiting to hear back.

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Mark-Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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Comments
46 Responses
  1. Avatar photo Doireman says:

    This is not good news for the local NI economy. Firstsource are one of the major employers in Derry city – this compounded with the redundancies at Seagate recently too – a bad month for the City.

    Shame on Sky!

    1. Avatar photo Random Precision says:

      NI economy is booming due to have access to EU single market.

    2. Avatar photo 4chAnon says:

      Going to admit, didn’t expect Comcast to start off with gutting the Londonderry job market the second they acquired Sky.

    3. Avatar photo Patrick says:

      At least Netomnia is giving them good internet

    4. Avatar photo copenstein says:

      “NI economy is booming due to have access to EU single market.”.

      lmao. lefty cope

    5. Avatar photo XGS Is On says:

      Fact. NI is outperforming Great Britain and has been since the TCA came into force.

      Regardless *that* issue wasn’t a party political one particularly. I know plenty of the left who went leave, of the right remain. The numbers back that up.

    6. Avatar photo Andrew G says:

      4chAnon: “didn’t expect Comcast to start off with gutting the Londonderry job market the second they acquired Sky”.

      Didn’t or did? US corporate management are always shiney-teethed morons who understand the price of everything and the value of nothing, as well as perpetually responding to Wall Street short-termism.

      Sack some workers to make more money!
      Profits are up, sack some more!
      Profits are down, sack more workers!
      We’re making a loss, sack some more!
      etc etc

      VM are run in exactly the same way. And amusingly, it’s clear that often doesn’t work, since VM’s core business has never paid a dividend from operations, entirely due to its crap operating model. Not just telecoms, most US owned businesses are the same, and the performance of their overseas operations is quite often appalling because this corporate mismanagement. But corporate America has the memory of a goldfish, so they never learn.

  2. Avatar photo aqx says:

    Outsourcing to India & Bulgaria is going to end up putting them in the same position as Virginmedia where you’re reluctant in contacting because what you say and what they understand is entirely incorrect that the call for a broadband fault gets marked as a WiFi issue or your bill being increased gets you marked for disconnecting.
    I hope Sky reconsiders for the benefit of their customers.

    1. Avatar photo 10BaseT says:

      It is not for customers to get better, it is for Sky to get it cheaper. They will replace Firstsource with someone cheaper 😉

    2. Avatar photo Ea Nasir says:

      my partner works for sky and says how poorly the agents from overseas perform, often transferring calls for no reason, not doing their jobs, making more work for her and other UK based agents to clean up.
      they always say how often they have to complain about the performance of these overseas agents and now sky says they intend to fully move to it knowing the issues that this will cause. its purely a cost cutting measure, disgusting that as soon as the min wage goes up, and after forcing their agents to justify a steep April price increase for customers they then reward them by saying its too expensive to have UK staff!

      thankfully my partner has already got some emails back regarding new jobs but honestly think its disgusting

    3. Avatar photo Moon says:

      @Ea Nasir – I worked for Virgin a few years ago and it was the same for us, we complained daily about the overseas staff. Most people would leave for price not because of overseas so Virgin don’t care and I think it’s same as sky where colleagues complaining doesn’t matter since it doesn’t lose them revenue

    4. Avatar photo Tryuffh says:

      Yeah moving to companies where ex Firstsource people are senior managers….., hmm something fishy going on

  3. Avatar photo BuckleZ says:

    Horrible company firstsource are – they treat staff like animals – sad about the jobs but the company have exploited the people here – paying peanuts.

    Worked on Sky TV tech 18months then O2 Broadband tech.. ugh

    1. Avatar photo 10BaseT says:

      Hopefully their next career adventure will be much better.

  4. Avatar photo jay says:

    this is a utter disgrace my misses is a home worker for firstsource on the sky tv contract she was contacted late today to inform her of what is happening only because the media got hold of the story ViLE company along with SKY

    1. Avatar photo Trdghhfdsvb says:

      I think they tried to call people but some straight up media and not thought about others

      Shsme

  5. Avatar photo Jeremy says:

    Let me know if YouFibre can help 🙂 we would love to support the people impacted.

    1. Avatar photo BuckleZ says:

      Jeremy – you only seem to be covering the west bank of Derry – with nothing live on the Waterside – you dont seem to be doing much in this side of the city

    2. Avatar photo BuckleZ says:

      *East bank

      My bad

    3. Avatar photo BuckleZ says:

      Sorry to confirm the city centre is on west bank (you are covering nearly everywhere) – West (over the river) you seem to have left out

    4. Avatar photo XGS Is On says:

      They do a section of a town or city at a time, BuckleZ, same as everyone else.

      I imagine you’re just later on the build plan.

      Think he was offering help with potential jobs, mind. Legend.

    5. Avatar photo Jeremy says:

      Correct…we will be on the other side later this year 🙂

    6. Avatar photo Firstsource are horrid says:

      If you are supporting with jobs and decent working conditions I am in

  6. Avatar photo speaking the truth says:

    Why don’t the UK government force these companies to remain onshore by not allowing customer data to be moved offshore. Look at the fine imposed this week on Meta for taking customer data out of the EU

    1. Avatar photo Andrew G says:

      Because politicians don’t care. They (on both sides of the house) are religiously fixated on a mantra that free markets deliver the best outcome for everybody, and therefore selling off all UK assets and offshoring all jobs gets a better outcome. Free-er markets certainly do have a really important role in higher growth, but there’s plenty of evidence that well balanced national interest policies are better than the UK government’s laissez faire idiocy.

      But that’s not going to change. Our government offshore all heavy industry decades ago, they offshored energy, back office jobs and IT have been cheaply and badly overseas for many years, they’ve offshored millions of call centre jobs over the years (even a good few government contracts). Our air force primarily fly foreign made kit, our police force take pride in swanning around in German cars, our railways mainly use foreign made rolling stock. We have a massive balance of payments problems because we don’t make enough things that are sold overseas, and the last thirty years of government have seen no understanding of the importance in government of having a viable and balanced economy, despite the endless bleating about “growth”.

      You’re right, it could be different, but whilst we have governments comprised of thick minsters who don’t understand, don’t want to understand, and don’t care, we’ll continue on the journey to a largely minimum wage economy, where everything’s owned by foreign interests, the only well paid jobs are in management consultancies working for government, and the rest of us can do the zombie shuffle through dirty high streets populated by mobile phone retailers, charity and betting shops, before buying stuff we need from tax dodging online retailers. The current expectations of AI are of course going to magnify inequalities rather than improve them, so it’s not like technology and better communications are going to save us.

      There’s a cheerful thought for the long weekend.

  7. Avatar photo speaking the truth says:

    Lets see if Sky News runs with this story or buries it!!!!!

    1. Avatar photo Canned FS/sky Worker says:

      Doubt it to be honest, they put the prices up so they continue providing a better service then a barely two months later can us all and move the service to India and Bulgaria.. no doubt the staff working for Sky correctly will be next on the firing line.

  8. Avatar photo Brian K says:

    All works going to Tuupe yo company where old bosses are (First Source ones) I smell a rat sky

    Why not be honest and say done a deal for cheaper work and hiding behind First Source who are going your dityrb work!

    Vile Co, toxic managers,?useless HR

    1. Avatar photo Krazykk says:

      Firstsource have set up the Bulgaria office months ago. Obviously at the behest of Sky so they can pay for cheaper workers. Sky pay Forstsource and they pay the workers. So both companies gain the benefits. Comcast are all about the money. It’s the customer I feel sorry for. All we hear day in day out is, thank god to speak to someone who understands me!

    2. Avatar photo Rtyihfchh says:

      Firstsource haven’t set up Bulgaria office – the Bulgaria site the work is going too is Results CX (formerly 60K) there are old Firstsource managers working there.

      Sky have moved work from Firstsource to RCX and clearly the old Firstsource leaders are getting their pockets lined

  9. Avatar photo Michaela says:

    1000 jobs going total. 600 NI

    Sky hiding behind its providers rather than dealing with it.

    Wife told yesterday and as a manager tried to call her teams to tell them before Media got hold of story.

    Everyone straight to media and not thought about those who didn’t hear the announcement due to holidays.

    Let’s see what happens as First Source getting bad press but it’s Sky or new companies that are me redundancies / just making First Source do the leg work and hide

    1. Avatar photo anonymous says:

      How many customers will care? Sky (and VM) wouldn’t use cheap, crap offshore service if customers would vote with their wallets, and its clear that most customers don’t care, although often the sales contact centres are UK based so it’s not immediately obvious to new customers that most customer contact is from a burning skip situated under a flyover in a poor area of Bangalore. But other BT who have all contact from UK centres, where do you go – VMO2, Vodafone, Talktalk are all the same (and in all honesty most customer contact for Sky has been offshore for many years now).

      I do care, I’ve given VM the blow off for their crap offshore service. My car insurers are being changed at next renewal after I found the claims department was offshore imbeciles who could barely speak English. But most people choose cheap offers, do no research, and really don’t care if the customer service is rubbish.

    2. Avatar photo Matt says:

      The difference with VM, is in a lot of places they’re the only decent speed you can get if BT only offer VDSL / no altnet.

      SKY aren’t in that position, so I suspect less people will be willing to put up with poor service when they can just move to another BTOR provider. (They’ll be banking on people wanting to save a few quid with triple/quadplay but i’m not sure that’d do it.)

      As for NOW – cheap is their only benefit so I’m guessing they’re chasing TalkTalk who always do so well in CS scores 🙂

    3. Avatar photo Anonymous says:

      I am one of those that is currently on annual leave and will be expected to go back to work tomorrow knowing that in 45-50 days I’m going to be made redundant and knowing that as I’ve only been at firstsource 3 years stand to get a redundancy pay of £1054 which is less than 1 months wage for me currently, we were told by email, I already suffer anxiety as it is but now that’s through the roof, well its been a good 3 years

  10. Avatar photo Firstsource are rotten says:

    Firstsource had net global sales of over 700m US dollars.
    Now Broadband’s price increase will raise 11 m GBP in one year.
    Sky made profits also.
    Sky claim they are making efficiencies etc for saving money. They are using firstsource India for the NOW Sales side of things.
    As for FSL, if you end up in hospital twice in 6 months you get a 6 month warning, no care for their staff, the operational manager has no clue about people and is just a yes man to Anita in England. Some managers treating their staff awfully just so they can brag that their team sell more, all the while the staff are at breaking point.
    Sky and NOW are d*cks
    FSL are bigger d*cks

    1. Avatar photo Marlie says:

      lol – yeah that Anita walks round like she owns the place (mix of ms trunchball and Miranda!)

      Ops leads? Some dude called Mark – seen him once in Derry. Won’t leave his Belfast haunt to come up here. Shaun was always around and chatting.

      Ops managers are good – Lee and MJ and Fintan

      Heard that the HR Lead from Firstsource that left last year is now at the company that the work is transferring too alongside other leaders – maybe an inside knowledge piece.

      Everyone moans at Firstsource but they were there for me when my wife was sick. Nathan and Lauren would do anything for you.

      I’m gutted to be at the point where I need to look for something else.

  11. Avatar photo Anthony says:

    I used to work for Sky. I left about 2 years ago. Even back then the Bulgarian broadband site were outperforming the NI site for customer faults resolutions so this was a long time coming. It won’t just be about costs.

    1. Avatar photo James says:

      yeah the firstsource guys definitely seemed to struggle to tell customers the correct stuff. constant source of headache for us in-house guys. feel really sorry for them now though because they’ll only get statutory redundancy if they’re lucky.

  12. Avatar photo PromoteAccount says:

    The bigger picture is they want to consolidate call centre functions into an app. Basically attempting to improve UX. There was a keynote on it for staff a few months ago.

    But this was unfortunately inevitable. Sky are making a loss (although less than expected). And Firstsource has been the source of a critical incident 2 weeks ago prompting Sky to send a text to most of Sky staff on a Saturday evening with a warning.

    Relations with amdocs will be interesting to observe because of the complete mobile outage caused by their stuff.

  13. Avatar photo Miguel says:

    I worked for Sky many moons ago. The Bulgarians (formerly from Be.?) were OK. The NI contingent were almost as hopeless as the Indian centres. There’s little difference except the accents when it comes to offshoring Vs outsourcing. If a company genuinely cares about customer service, they do it in house. I suspect this move is a precursor to having all fleshbots replaced by some half-baked “AI”.

    1. Avatar photo k says:

      Yep having recently left Sky at the end of last year it definitely seemed to be a problem with FirstSource staff not receiving adequate training, sales guys in Derby were definitely the worst for it and retentions in India would tell customers basically anything to get them to stay.

      The other outsourced guys at 60k in Bulgaria seemed to know there stuff (they only do Sky Q tech calls anyway).

      They also used to have Webhelp sites in Glasgow, Greenock and Falkirk but Sky ended that contract with Webhelp last year with all staff TUPE to in-house operations. (Glasgow was done way back in 2016).

  14. Avatar photo Candice says:

    Disgusted in Firstsource and sky, imagine losing my job to a 3rd world country, left in limbo, no questions answered, they can take my job I will find a better job with better pay, and working hours Sky will live to regret their decision and hope the company just falls apart, them lot in India don’t do their job properly anyway, transferring calls because of their incompetence and lack of knowledge, customers who rather speak to English agent than them, but yet they want to sell us out for them, well so be it, things will only get worse for Sky, we have a 90 day consultation and they will decide if we go or not, I rather go than stay with a company who rather sell out their own, and going back to Firstsource HR and payroll staff who can’t even do their jobs properly, they suck!
    Has for Anita shame on her and the rest who work under her, bunch of snakes, I say good riddance and goodbye, hope they all catch a dose of karma and wish they never messed with British agent’s livelihood and future, I say move on to bigger and better, which isn’t Sky or Firstsource.

  15. Avatar photo Me says:

    This was bound to happen sooner or later, it’s not the smartest to constantly rely on a third party the size of Sky for workload. They’ll just move more in house and to digital online and cut costs, then cancel their contract with third parties and cut costs even more.

  16. Avatar photo Myself says:

    FYI. As someone who worked for Sky for over 9 years before our site was closed and we were made redundant, I suggest you think about discussing your redundancies in detail as your contract for redundancy payment most likely includes clauses banning you from doing so to receive your payments. And yes Sky do check these things.
    And don’t waste time complaining. It’s big business and they literally have a team of people whose job it is to save money, including planning to close centres and lay staff off. Just look for other opportunities. Life is far too short to complain about a giant corporation laying you off, concentrate on finding new employment instead.

  17. Avatar photo Paul says:

    Used to have NOW broadband/TV, literally cancelled over trying to deal with Indian agents over the live chat, no matter what I said, I got a pasted script reply and nothing applicable to my issue, no doubt the agents are overworked and under trained.

  18. Avatar photo David Dunn says:

    Shame on them thousands of redundancies you don’t see the hardship in that only your profits and foreign speaking people who you don’t know what they are saying I hope everyone dumps your company when there contracts are up this world gets more evil by the day in the world of greed and corruption KARMA TO YOUR COMPANY

Comments are closed

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