Jobs news turns ‘life upside down’

A Roe Valley resident has described how her life has been “turned upside down” after news about Government plans for 60 NHS jobs to be taken out of Derry.

The plans could see four centres of expertise established that would oversee payroll, human resources, and finance services.

The centres would be located in Belfast, Ballymena, Omagh and Armagh - meaning workers will be expected to travel to the new centres.

Among them is one Roe Valley woman who said when she and her colleagues were told the news: “No one could speak. People were in shock and some were crying. It’s awful, just three weeks before Christmas.”

The resident, who preferred not to be named, said jobs in her area - payroll - are to be re-deployed to Belfast.

“There is no way I could go to Belfast. I don’t drive so I would have to get the bus and I was looking at the prices of tickets and it wouldn’t pay me.

“There are people whose partners are out of work and they have children and mortgages. It’s awful and, to be honest, I don’t know if I will be offered re-deployment,” she said.

“I don’t know what I’d do because there are no jobs out there. All the workers feel completely cheated, but we are determined to fight this. We’ve been on to the MLAs and we hope it will make a difference, but we’ll see.”