THE past month has been fraught with worry and uncertainty for those working at the BT/EE contact centre in Enniskillen. 

Fears that some 300 jobs are at risk continue to abound, with workers currently considering whether they will sign up to a Voluntary Paid Leaver (VPL) scheme offered by BT.

The following is a timeline of how the story has developed, to date, by the time of going to print.

Thursday, February 8: On a cold afternoon, staff at BT Enniskillen were told that the site had not been identified as a long-term location for a customer contact centre. One source said that the announcement came at "10 minutes' notice".

Thursday, February 8: Voluntary Paid Leaver (VPL) scheme opens, where workers will receive a  "leaver payment"  to officially leave BT on December 31. Workers given deadline of March 8 to sign up. 

Friday, February 9: Local politicians urge BT to "do all they can" to halt the closure of the site.

Monday, February 12: In Stormont, DUP MLA Deborah Erskine urges Economy Minister Conor Murphy to do "everything possible" to stop job losses at the BT Enniskillen site.

Tuesday, February 13: Emotional scenes were observed at a meeting in the Westville Hotel where more than 200 BT workers spoke of their “hurt” and “disgust” at the announcement.  

Thursday, February 22: Numerous BT workers speak anonymously to The Impartial Reporter about the impact of the proposed closure, including financial worries, fears around finding another job, and damage to the local economy.

Friday, February 23: Local councillors travel to Invest NI HQ to meet the organisation's Chief Executive and senior team, where a commitment to "securing jobs" at Enniskillen is reiterated.

Wednesday, February 28: Deadline for VPL scheme extended until Thursday, March 28 following pressure from trade unions. 

Thursday, February 29: A deputation from Sinn Féin, the DUP and Alliance party convene a Zoom online call with BT management to discuss a way forward. 

Thursday, February 29: In a strongly worded letter, Minister Murphy warns BT that it will suffer "reputational damage" if it decides to cut 300 jobs in Fermanagh.

Monday, March 5: A public meeting at the Westville Hotel is convened, with those in attendance hearing that there is a strong hope that Minister Murphy, and Invest NI, could provide a package to save jobs.

Going forward...

Thursday, March 28: Deadline to sign up to Voluntary Paid Leavers (VPL) scheme.

July 31: Earliest possible leave date for those who accept the VPL scheme.

December 31: Last day of service for those on VPL scheme.