Nova Scotia

Former ServiCom workers in Sydney finally getting back pay

Hundreds of call centre workers in Sydney, N.S., are getting paid this month for work they did last year. About 600 employees of the former ServiCom call centre were owed several weeks pay, plus bonuses, when the centre's U.S. parent company went bankrupt in December.

About 600 employees were owed more than $1M when the company went bankrupt last December

About 90 per cent of the people who worked for ServiCom, which closed last December, are now working at the Sydney Call Centre. (Holly Conners/CBC)

Hundreds of call centre workers in Sydney, N.S., are getting paid this month for work they did last year.

About 600 employees of the former ServiCom call centre were owed several weeks pay, plus bonuses, when the centre's U.S. parent company went bankrupt in December. The workers were owed more than $1,000,000.

The Nova Scotia government took the unusual step of taking ServiCom to court earlier this year to force the company into bankruptcy in Canada. Under the federal Wage Earner Protection Program, former employees were able to apply to get the wages owed to them.

The call centre reopened under a new owner in January and is now named the Sydney Call Centre.

Vice-president Todd Riley said the first batch of employees to get back pay received payments of up to $6,600 last week.

"It was very exciting, especially last Tuesday and Wednesday, when the money started coming," he said.

Todd Riley is the vice-president of the Sydney Call Centre. (Norma Jean MacPhee/CBC)

He estimated about three-quarters of the staff have received their back pay, adding the timing of when people receive their money seems to depend on when they filed their paperwork and whether they filed the application online or through the mail.

Riley said between 550 and 600 people currently work at the call centre, and he expects to hire another couple of hundred people within the next few months.

$500K loan

The Sydney Call Centre recently received a $500,000 loan from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency.

Riley said the loan will allow the centre to purchase new equipment and improve its services.

"We did some good things since the purchase of the new Sydney Call Centre and I believe that we are starting to attract another type of candidate that we haven't had in the past, which is in the inbound arena," said Riley.

He said two new potential clients are touring the facility Monday.

With files from Gary Mansfield

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