IN THE PAPERS
In The Papers 4 March
Eircom agrees employee pay cut plan | Three offers 'all you can eat' data bundles
The Irish Times reports that Eircom and its unions have agreed a radical framework 'recovery plan' that would cut employee pay by 10 percent for 18 months and, according to sources, could result in more than 1,000 voluntary redundancies over a three-year period. Under the terms of the agreement, an 18-month pay freeze would be imposed. The two sides have agreed to a 10 percent reduction in working hours over the same time frame, with a pro-rata decrease in pay. The deal is aimed at achieving labour savings of EUR92 million by 2013.
The paper also says that Rupert Murdoch's News Corp has taken a huge step towards securing a USD14 billion buyout of satellite broadcaster BSkyB as the British government backed its proposals to ease competition concerns. UK Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt said he intended to wave through the takeover after the media giant offered to make Sky News a separate independent company and subsidise it for a decade. The move will allow News Corp to avoid a prolonged investigation into its plans to buy the 61 percent of BSkyB it does not already own.
The same paper reports that shipments of Sony PlayStation 3 game consoles were seized by customs officers in the Netherlands following a court injunction initiated by LG Electronics over a patent dispute. Sony declined to give further details, saying it was still looking into the problem. LG Electronics said it would not comment on pending legal matters.
The paper also says that mobile operator Three has introduced the first "all you can eat" data price plan for smartphone users, which it says ensures that there is no "out of bundle" data charges. The Flex Max tariffs cost from EUR35 to EUR95 a month, depending on the number of bundled voice minutes and texts, but all the plans come with unlimited data. The operator said customers would not be charged for additional data or removed from the service, regardless of how much data they use in a month.
The same paper notes that Twitter co-founder Biz Stone has said the company has no plans to go public any time soon and does not need additional funds. "We have so many other things before we even think about that," he said in Seoul on Thursday, when asked about an IPO. He added it had no plans to raise funds in the next 12 months.
The paper also says that 40 jobs are to be created over the next year with the establishment of six start-up companies supported by the DCU Ryan Academy for Entrepreneurship. Each company has received EUR30,000 plus several months of free space, under the academy's mentor-led Propeller Accelerator programme.
The paper also reports on the winners of the Irish Times InterTradeIreland awards. InTune Networks won the overall award for its advanced optical networking products. In other categories, the Adelaide and Meath Hospital, Dublin, won the public service innovation award for its new content-rich patient information system, while Kilkenny-based FitzGerald Nurseries won the organisational systems and processes award for its success in gaining international markets for its work in horticulture. The research and development innovation award went to Celtic Catalysts.
The Irish Examiner says that two Enterprise Ireland-supported office facilities aimed at small and medium technology companies have been largely empty since their construction. The Cork and Galway Webworks facilities were undertaken as public private partnership ventures with local councils and a number of construction firms. The Cork Webworks facility was opened in July 2006. Enterprise Ireland has said the building occupancy rate is about 35 percent. The Galway Webworks, opened in 2009, has just seven out of its 42 units occupied.
The paper also says that the Irish Archives Resource website, www.iar.ie, funded by the Heritage Council, has brought together descriptions of the collections held by more than a dozen local authorities, colleges and private institutions. It is now possible to use the site to check if information on a subject being researched is available, saving the need to directly contact each archive separately to find out details of their holdings.
The same paper notes that Ireland's official tourism Facebook page is the fifth most popular in the world. There are now over 250,000 fans of Tourism Ireland on the social networking site. Ireland is now the fifth most popular tourism page in the world on Facebook, after Croatia, Spain, New Zealand and Australia.