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