Nova Scotia

New Waterford call centre lays off 80 employees

A Cape Breton call centre based out of the U.S. has laid off 80 people in New Waterford.

A Cape Breton call centre based out of the U.S. has laid off 80 people in New Waterford.

Signature Styles, formerly known as Spiegel Brands, had been given money as recently as last year by the Nova Scotia government.

The call centre had about 350 employees in 2010, but it's not known if it maintained that number up until Friday's layoffs.

It's another devastating blow for people in New Waterford said Kim Desveaux, councillor for New Waterford.

The Crown Corporation Devco operated coal mines in industrial Cape Breton until they closed in 2001, laying off 6,000 people.

"With the announcement of 80 job losses in a community of only 7,000 people already facing an 18-per cent unemployment rate, at some point the community has to rise up and say 'when does it stop?'"

Signature Styles was known as Spiegel Brands when Nova Scotia's Conservative government gave it $1.2 million in January 2009.

That money came from the controversial Industrial Expansion Fund.

Last year the NDP government announced another loan of $1.8 million to the same company from the same fund — now the government said they will try and get some of that money back.

"The community can only do so much without some base, and we have absolutely no economic base at this point," said Desveaux. "From a community point of view, it's devastating."

Other rural communities in Nova Scotia are suffering through tough economic times, in particular the communities of Bridgetown and Canso. 

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