Nova Scotia

Former ServiCom call centre in Sydney to reopen Wednesday

Now named the Sydney Call Centre, the company is offering $300 signing bonuses to recent call centre employees

Now named the Sydney Call Centre, the company is offering $300 signing bonuses to recent call centre employees

(Gary Mansfield/CBC)

The former ServiCom call centre in Sydney, N.S., will resume operations on Wednesday.

The call centre abruptly threw hundreds of people out of work in early December when ServiCom's parent company, JNET Communications, announced it had declared bankruptcy and closed.

An Iowa-based businessman, Anthony Marlowe, subsequently purchased contracts the company had in U.S. Bankruptcy Court. The call centre will now operate as the Sydney Call Centre and is owned by Marlowe's company, MCI Canada.

A news release issued Monday provided details about how the new company will operate, and what kind of compensation it's offering employees. Among the key points are:

  • Workers with call-centre experience in the last 90 days will receive a $300 signing bonus.
  • Base pay and vacation accrual levels from people who have call-centre experience in the last 90 days will be honoured by the Sydney Call Centre.
  • There will be no waiting period for benefits for people in that group.
  • Entry pay will be raised from $11 to $12 an hour. (Nova Scotia's minimum wage rate is $11.)

The release notes the offer doesn't just apply to people who previously worked at ServiCom.

Kayla Williams, a former ServiCom employee, plans to apply to the Sydney Call Centre. She's thrilled there won't be a wait time for people like her to get benefits.

"It's hard when you have numerous prescriptions and things like that and you kind of need those benefits," said the mother of one and two stepchildren.

Todd Riley, Sydney Call Centre's vice-president, said last week that he expected up to 85 per cent of the ServiCom workers would return. He said preference is being given to those employees before any outside applicants are hired.

The company said that more than 450 people have applied for positions.

On Monday, Marlowe told CBC News that about 250 people are expected to be working for the company on Wednesday. He said the company hopes to double that number within 30 days.

'Everybody basically becomes family'

According to the release, the Sydney Call Centre has four contracts, and service for two of them will begin on Wednesday, with the other start dates being Jan. 7 and 14.

Williams said she was initially reluctant about going back to work at the call centre because ServiCom owed its workers three weeks of pay, which they won't recoup.

"When you work for a company for so long, everybody basically becomes family, so once you lose that for a month, it kind of makes you realize how much you miss your job and you do want to go back," she said.

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