Invest NI-backed firm TSYS to axe 120 jobs and move roles to US and Philippines

TSYS is based in the City Quays 1 building in Belfast. Picture by Mal McCann.
TSYS is based in the City Quays 1 building in Belfast. Picture by Mal McCann.

AN American card processing company is set to axe around 120 jobs in Belfast and Derry and move the roles to the US and the Philippines.

TSYS, formerly known as Cayan, said the plan to cease contact services in Northern Ireland followed a worldwide review of the business after it merged with US giant Global Payments Inc last year.

It comes just three years after the company announced 170 new customer service roles in Belfast, with Invest NI offering the US firm £680,000 of public funding for the expansion.

Cayan originally set up an engineering division in Northern Ireland during 2013.

In December 2017 it announced plans to increase its headcount in the north to 240 by 2019 with the help of Invest NI. Weeks later, Total System Services Inc (TSYS) completed its acquisition of the company.

Invest NI did not comment when asked if it will be able to recover any of the employment grant support paid to TSYS.

But a spokesperson for economic support body said such grant funding is only released after the jobs are created.

At the time of the funding announcement in late 2017, 100 roles were already in place.

“If a company creates jobs but does not maintain them for the agreed period of time as set out in the letter of offer, Invest NI will determine whether clawback is due,” said the spokesperson.

“Factors such as length of time the jobs were in place, and the economic return to NI are some of the things considered when determining any clawback.”

In its communication with staff, TSYS/Global Payments said it had decided to consolidate customer service and call centre operations into fewer and “more strategic sites” based in the US and Manilla.

The company, based at City Quays in Belfast and Ebrington Square in Derry, will retain its engineering hub in the north, which it originally set up in 2013.

A number of other roles including IT support and information security will remain.

It’s believed that most of the redundancies set to occur in March and April relate to those created as part of the Invest NI-backed Merchant Services Support division.

The Irish News understands TSYS launched a consultation process with staff in October. Most of its workforce have been working from home since March.

TSYS/Global Payments Inc did not respond to a request for comment.

However, in a document seen by The Irish News, the company confirmed its proposal seeks to “cease all call centre jobs/operations in Belfast and Foyle… This means all employees working in the call centres and associated functions in Northern Ireland will be impacted by the proposals”.

TSYS is based in the City Quays 1 building in Belfast. Picture by Mal McCann.
TSYS is based in the City Quays 1 building in Belfast. Picture by Mal McCann.

The same document states: “This review was undertaken to help us establish an ideal operating structure, maximize efficiencies and scale operations and will help to identify new opportunities for improving service levels and ultimately increasing customer satisfaction levels.”

In December, TSYS staff in Belfast and Derry were informed their personal data had likely been compromised after the company was targeted in a ransomware attack.

TSYS confirmed the attack compromised systems of its “legacy” merchant business, understood to relate to the Cayan business.

It said no data relating to customer card transactions had been impacted.

But TSYS admitted that data including the names, addresses, national insurance numbers and bank details of staff may have been compromised.

The company said it was not yet aware of any harm caused as a result of the breach, but said the attackers had made some of the data available on the internet and threatened to disclose more.