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News : More Hiring Expected at Sydney Call Centre
Sydney, NS, Canada, Jan 15, 2019 -- More former ServiCom call centre employees returned to work as the two remaining contracts restarted business on Monday.
Renamed the Sydney Call Centre Inc., it reopened its doors on Jan. 2 following a nearly month-long shutdown forced by ServiCom Canada Ltd.’s bankruptcy and the inability to keep cash flowing to business operations in early December.
Employees formerly on the Sirius XM satellite radio and Allstate accounts returned on Monday to sign employment contracts, said Todd Riley, the vice-president of Sydney Call Centre Inc.
He said exact numbers on those returning to work on the two accounts wasn’t known on Monday but additional hiring is expected for all four existing contracts including GM OnStar and AT&T Services Inc., which resumed operations two weeks ago.
"We got the OK from our clients to start ramping up with existing and new employees," Riley said.
"They’re looking for the Sydney site to get up to a very high headcount within the next 60 days to be honest with you."
Part of Riley’s duties is to secure new business for the call centre.
He said the company is looking at transferring one or two accounts to the Sydney site, as well as attracting contracts that include customer service, data acquisition and inbound calls. The vast majority of telemarketers are currently outbound sales agents.
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"We could possibly have web chat. It could possibly be exclusively customer service, it could be surveying."
About 250 former ServiCom employees began dialing again on Jan. 2. There were approximately 530 call centre agents when ServiCom ceased operations on Dec. 6.
More than 450 former workers filled out applications to work at the new call centre shortly after Christmas.
It’s still unknown if the former ServiCom employees will ever be paid all or part of the three to four weeks of back wages they are owed. ServiCom Canada and its parent company, JNET Communications, is deep in debt.
Last week a decision was made to move ahead with a hearing in U.S. bankruptcy court in New Haven, Conn., to convert the Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection filing to Chapter 7. Pending objections, the motion would expedite the process of liquidation of non-exempt assets to the debtors’ various creditors.
Riley said former ServiCom employees are keeping a close eye on the case to see if and when the company files for bankruptcy in Canada.
If it does, it’s likely hundreds of former ServiCom employees will seek back wages, bonuses and vacation pay, through the wage earner protection program.
Under new rules retroactively applied to Feb. 27, 2018, the date the last federal budget was tabled, the maximum amount to be paid to employees, typically made as one payment, is $6,484.96, according to Employment and Social Development Canada.
The window of eligibility is six months prior to the bankruptcy. Employees must wait for the employer to file for bankruptcy or be subject to a receivership in Canada prior to becoming eligible for the program.
The new call centre’s human resources department is working closely with the province’s Department of Labour and Advanced Education to expedite the process of recouping back pay, Riley said.
Information on the amount owed to each employee is already in government hands.
"We had to run a labour distribution list from our dialer that gave us the exact amount of hours each person worked for the week ending Dec. 1, up to and including the 6th of December," Riley said.
Meanwhile, the first paycheque due to employees currently working at the Sydney Call Centre Inc. will be deposited in bank accounts this Friday. They will also receive the first half of their $300 signing bonus.
It will be a long-awaited pay as families struggled to make ends meet over the Christmas holidays.
Marlowe will be on hand at the call centre either Thursday or Friday — weather permitting — to catch up with employees. It’s been confirmed he will be bringing his wife, Julia Marlowe.
Riley called it more of an "informal" visit to thank employees for sticking with the company.
"They want to take a look at how things have progressed (since) the New Year, to see how things are going (and) getting a feel for the community."
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
Today's Tip of the Day - Printing Telephone & Fax Numbers
More Editorial From Sydney Call Centre Inc.
About Sydney Call Centre Inc.:
Operated by MCI Canada, a wholly owned subsidiary of call centre company Mass Markets based in Iowa.Taking over business from ServiCom Canada Ltd., which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the U.S. on Oct. 19 and ceased all operations on Dec. 6.MCI CEO Anthony Marlowe planning to reopen call centre as early as Jan. 2.New operator will not take on any liabilities, including back wages owed to employees, from ServiCom but will offer sign-on and retention bonuses
Published: Thursday, January 17, 2019
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