Call cen­tre abruptly closes in Cape Bre­ton, leav­ing hun­dreds with­out work

Calgary Herald - - FINANCIAL POST -

Of­fi­cials of­fered a glim­mer of hope Fri­day to hun­dreds of Cape Bre­ton call cen­tre work­ers grap­pling with lay­offs less than three weeks be­fore Christ­mas, say­ing the oper­a­tion has a “bright fu­ture” and could be up and run­ning again soon.

ServiCom Canada an­nounced the clo­sure of its Syd­ney oper­a­tion Thurs­day, hand­ing pink slips to al­most 700 work­ers in an in­dus­trial re­gion al­ready strug­gling with a stub­bornly high un­em­ploy­ment rate. The shut­down fol­lowed a bank­ruptcy pro­tec­tion fil­ing by ServiCom’s U.S. par­ent, weeks of pay de­lays and prom­ises of bonuses and pay in­cen­tives for work­ers who stayed.

In the af­ter­math of the lay­offs, many work­ers spent Fri­day fil­ing em­ploy­ment in­sur­ance claims and seek­ing help from lo­cal char­i­ties.

Nova Sco­tia Busi­ness Min­is­ter Ge­off MacLel­lan said it was a “dev­as­tat­ing time for Cape Bre­ton­ers.”

How­ever, the Cape Bre­ton politi­cian also said he was con­fi­dent the cen­tre had a “bright fu­ture” after speak­ing with a prospec­tive buyer Fri­day morn­ing.

“There is a po­ten­tial buyer that is very in­ter­ested and will do what­ever they can to make sure this cen­tre is part of their com­ple­ment in the very near fu­ture,” MacLel­lan said, adding that the po­ten­tial buyer was look­ing for­ward to “open­ing it early in the new year.”

The min­is­ter said he couldn’t of­fer more de­tails, cit­ing court pro­ceed­ings in the United States. He said a deal was pend­ing when the bank­ruptcy is­sues caused a snafu.

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