Nova Scotia

'We're coming back': Sydney Call Centre to hire ServiCom employees

More than 600 workers in Sydney, N.S., are celebrating an early Christmas after abruptly losing their jobs nearly two weeks ago.

More than 600 employees of shuttered call centre will be rehired when operations begin in January

Cathy Harris delivered a box of vegetables and other turkey dinner trimmings to call-centre employees in Sydney, N.S. She worked at ServiCom for 19 years and wanted to volunteer her time in thanks for the community’s support. (Norma Jean MacPhee/CBC)

More than 600 workers in Sydney, N.S., are celebrating an early Christmas after abruptly losing their jobs nearly two weeks ago.

Marlowe Companies Inc. (MCI) confirmed Tuesday night it hopes to have people working by Jan. 2 at the former ServiCom centre, which will reopen as The Sydney Call Centre Inc.

U.S.-based Marlowe Companies won an auction earlier this week to take over the call centre.

"Wahoo!" cheered Georgina Stewart, one of the ServiCom employees who was laid off Dec. 6 without warning. "We're coming back."

Anthony Marlowe, CEO of MCI, said the company would do everything possible to help employees, including providing employment offers with sign-on and retention bonuses to ServiCom workers.

There were tears, laughter — and even some Christmas songs — as the workers embraced the news.

"I'm 54 years old and I love my job," said Stewart. "We have a great family there."

George Sharpe, a fellow employee of the former ServiCom centre, said the change of fortune was "a Christmas miracle."

"It's great news. I'm elated and I want to thank Mr. Marlowe for coming into town, and taking over and doing what he's done for everybody."

Sobeys staff help bring turkeys to the former ServiCom employees. (Norma Jean MacPhee/CBC)

On Wednesday morning, the joy rippled through the Salvation Army parking lots as many workers lined up in their cars to receive turkeys and other groceries donated by Sobeys.

"There was not much I could do financially, but this I could definitely come out and help," said Cathy Harris, who helped hand out the donations.

Harris worked at ServiCom for 19 years and wanted to give her time in thanks for the support from the community.

"Plus I get to see all my co-workers because you know, I love them all, I miss them," said Harris.

"So it couldn't be a happier day at this point."

VP says all employees will be hired back

Todd Riley, ServiCom's former director of operations, said all the employees will be hired back.

"There might be a few transfers from one program to the next depending on the availability," said Riley, who will be vice-president of the new centre.

"But I anticipate to have everyone back that was on the payroll."

Riley said the auction for the call centre came down to three bidders.

Todd Riley becomes vice-president of The Sydney Call Centre, set to open next month. (Norma Jean MacPhee/CBC)

It's significant that Marlowe won the bid at $1.5 million, said Riley.

"Having an offer like that, it was like a bidding war and they [the employees] should be proud that someone bid this much for their talent," said Riley.

The workers are also grateful for the outpouring of support from the community they've received during the last two weeks.

"Merry Christmas everybody," said Stewart. "We appreciate everything."


From people around the corner to those around the world, Norma Jean MacPhee has more than a decade of experience telling their stories on the radio, TV and online. Reach Norma Jean at


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?