Fear for HML future

Workers at Derry’s HML call centre say they believe the company is on the verge of pulling out of the city.

The company, which handles mortgage administration and once had a workforce in excess of 400 people in the city, confirmed yesterday it is to lay off more staff - less than two months after shedding nearly 40 jobs in Derry.

Julian Wells, HML’s Director of Marketing, says 15 posts are at risk.

“We plan to make 15 redundancies across HML, however the location of these redundancies has yet to be decided.”

HML employs in excess of 1500 workers across their Derry, Padiham, Glasgow and Skipton sites.

But well placed sources have told the ‘Journal’ the Derry site is preparing to take the bulk of the hit in the latest raft of redundancies.

The source says the “ continual haemorrhaging” of jobs at the Springtown office does not augur well for the long term or for an already demoralised Derry staff.

“Fifteen job losses may not seem that alarming but the drip, drip effect of job losses has become very apparent over the past two to three years.

“Staff in Derry are expecting to take the hit with the latest job losses. Workers in HR and operations are feeling especially vulnerable.

“What is to say that we have already seen the beginning of the end? Other companies have come here, took advantage of government grants, and then upped and left when it suits them.

“Whose to say this won’t happen again?”

It has been a troubled year for HML, who at it’s peak managed around £50bn in assets for over 30 UK and Irish financial service lenders.

In March 2010, the Derry call centre escaped the worst of a cull of 100 jobs across the company’s five UK sites while, in August, the company announced 19 workers in Derry had been selected for voluntary redundancy.

In September HML confirmed that the Nationwide Building Society - one of its biggest clients - had terminated its outsourcing contract while in the final months of 2010 major client GMAC also terminated its contract with HML.

In December of last year, HML told the ‘Journal’ the loss of the GMAC contract would not have “a knock on effect for Derry, very little GMAC work is carried out there.”

But in March the company confirmed 38 workers were being made redundant in Derry.