A&O boss vows to limit job cuts as firm transfers support function to Belfast

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  • @Anonymous at 6:20 and others
    Only £2.5m? As a free market economist you should stay all in favour. Every penny of that will be recouped promptly in tax, employment (reduced benefits etc) and other investments. Everywhere that A&O looked will have offered them incentives to go there. That's peanuts to keep these jobs in the UK and the move from A&O will attract plenty of other interest too. As the government turn off the tap of public funding to NI they desperately have to attract private employers and this fits the bill rather well, I'd say.

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  • Great move A&O - nice bit of business in the January transfer window (almost). Skin the taxpayer for £2.5m, dump most fo your London support staff and hire cheaper and better staff at NI rates. Nice one - I'm deadly serious, I'm Northern Irish and am very supportive of the efforts of Invest NI to spearhead outsourcing to the Province.

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  • "Only £2.5m? As a free market economist you should stay all in favour. Every penny of that will be recouped promptly in tax, employment (reduced benefits etc) and other investments"
    Presumably it simply replaces the unemployed people in Belfast with unemployed people in London. And due to the lower wages in NI, the tax revenue from such people will be lower.....

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  • Presumably so . . . but not as low as UK tax receipts for jobs in Budapest or Manila. Free market economics works regionally as well as nationally.

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  • A&O already outsource to India and Manilla and we all know what a superb service they have provided so hopefully Belfast will be equally successful!!

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  • If memory serves, the recently retired Senior Partner was an Ulsterman. His accent didn't hold him back....

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  • How can you hope to limit redundancies when you are giving your valued (lol) support services Hobson's choice. A&O is fully aware that they are forcing people out of their jobs and then has the gall to hide this fact behind the statement that they are creating 250+ new jobs in Belfast - at the cost of your London staff. As if making a billion pounds wasn't already sufficient, A&O wants to relocate to Belfast to save money, treating their support staff disgracefully in the procss. How about the 450+ partners don't take seven figure salaries to help reduce client fees...don't suppose that was an option.

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  • As one of the old girls of the firm, working my way up from the typing pool of Cheapside to the not so heady heights of a PA to an every increasing workload of partners I am shocked. Have just heard that in future if I want to arrange a conference, book meeting room or simply ask the switchboard to connect me to somewhere it will all be done in Belfast. Nothing against Northern Ireland but these girls and boys are always so helpful and cheery on the phone and know there stuff. They had a clear out last year and let the crown jewels go and just as a new team started to get to understand our needs as users they get replaced. Total disgrace. The switchboard/room bookings team are not the highest of paid staff but are the voice of our firm and we can treat them so badly. I feel physically sick to hear it. Managing Parter??? wish he would go manage something else. The old guard may be getting on but they knew their stuff - the bunch of over paid, ego inflated fee earners may make shed loads of money for the firm, but believe me they get handsomely rewarded - unlike the poor switchboard folks and us mere secretaries.... 28 years at A&O and thought I had walked into a different firm today. Tut tut bad form for such loyalty and dedication to the client. Oh well nothing we can do about it but guess I will have to go and polish one of many ego inflated 007's halos !!

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  • Almost thought this was a Halliwells' thread it had so many upset responses on it.

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  • to Miss Moneypenny - don't forget all the poor document production staff - the PA's won't be able to get their work done while they pop out to lunch, they won't have anyone to log on to their machines when they're stuck with a document and don't know what to do - oh wait a minute - phone Belfast LOL

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  • Poor old DPC, what will I do without you helping me out. Being one of the "old girls" I regularly need your help !! aahhhhhh get me out of here.

    What has the firm come to ????

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  • It will be another Canary Wharf office, they will get bored with it in a few years, and bring the jobs back here but at lower pay and conditions.

    Deals will be put at risk because they couldn't contact someone and print that vital document or bill a client, its not like they will be able to just run down stairs like they can now, be a shame if A&O lost work because of this.

    Well as Wim says, its only business, maybe its time for a new Magic Circle law firm, one who's board are free thinkers rather than the ones now who are following like sheep.

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  • Belfast may not be such an exciting place in the eyes of many London City lawyers, yet much of the turmoil in the legal market was created by themselves. And I dare say that whereas London had slowly lost its 'Britishness'''at least NI has retained some of its own identity. And it has a positive vibe. But I assume real London based pale-faced lawyers with posh accents acquired through many years of social climbing would view that differently.

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  • 1. It's a business. If you don't want the business you work for to act like a business, then why are you there? At least don't act surprised.
    2. Hundreds of other businesses do something similar and don't suffer any quality problems. (DLA has had a central phone number for ages).
    3. Belfast is a great place. If you can, move there. You'll have a much higher quality of life.
    4. @ Miss Moneypenny. Which is not to say that A&O management could not have handled this better. You deserve better information after 28 years.

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  • @PtL | 9-Feb-2011 10:21 am
    Point 3 overlooks the fact that the salaries will doubtless be rockbottom, it's hard to survive anywhere when you barely get paid enough to cover living costs nevermind have a higher quality of life.

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  • @IHateBPP
    I'm no employment lawyer, but if staff from London do accept the move to Belfast, do they have to accept a pay cut?

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  • I am absolutely disgusted that people who are supposedly educated hold these views of the Northern Irish. The province has a much better education system than that of England and regularly produces extremely professional and capable individuals. I would imagine that those who claim not to understand the accent already have their minds made up about those of us hailing from the province and merely fail to listen as soon as we open our mouths. I have often defended the English to friends in NI who are of the opinion that everyone here holds this view. I sincerely hope the comments here reflect the views of the idiotic minority. I myself have lived here for five years and I am appalled to come across what is essentially racism after so long. It is terrible that A&O's London employees are clearly going to lose out here but Belfast will certainly not be a mistake.

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  • @PtL | 10-Feb-2011 3:01 pm
    I'm not sure either, although I'm almost certain that I read that A&O will be enforcing, no doubt substantial, pay cuts for those who relocate.

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  • A&O always has a nice code for its greed-based decisions. It says its doing it because it "values our people" and this is literally true. The ranks of "our people" consist solely of Morley and his bag carriers and everybody else isn't "our people". Simples!

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  • Well the plot ever thinkens at A&O.
    NO REDUNDANCIES they say - well the incentive to go is nothing at all !! so what is the choice...... voluntary redundancy.....
    If you call a one way plane ticket, with a 2 week stay in a rented flat and then you are on your own helpful then great.
    The much talked about 8k incentive is only payable in 2 chunks - 4k after 6 months, and another 4k after a year..... wooppeee I can hear the screams of excitment from Liverpool Street.
    The point is they don't want anyone to go ! simple as that.
    Why can't A&O be honest about what they are doing......

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