Call centre closure delayed

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Unidentified HR personnel

AMHERST – A call centre that’s closing downtown has delayed its departure.

Thing5 told its employees Thursday the centre will remain open until Dec. 17, according to employees who attended a private meeting with Moncton-based human resources personnel.

“It’s a little bit of good news,” said a woman heading home from the meeting on foot.

She liked the job, she said, and is disappointed the site is closing.

“It’s a little disheartening,” she said. She doesn’t think there’s a lot of work available in Amherst.

Opinions were traded outside the centre in the wake of the HR meeting. One view expressed was that the company wasn’t legally allowed to let them go after just two weeks – not without paying a further six weeks severance. But eight weeks notice (eight weeks of work) would allow the company to dismiss them without paying severance.

Two people, a man and a woman – identified as HR personnel from Moncton by an employee on the scene – refused to comment as they walked from the building to their separate cars.

It was the belief of an employee standing outside the building that labour standards dictated employers of 10 to 100 workers must give a combination of eight weeks employment and/or severance to employees.

“Our benefits do end on Dec. 31,” she said.

The abruptness of the closure came as a surprise, although she acknowledged there were warning signs.

“We’ve lost a lot of people,” she said.

She doesn’t know what she’ll do now.

“I actually liked (the job),” she said.

The reason she said they were given for the closure is that the “company’s going in a different direction.”

“I’m almost ready to retire…this sucks,” she said.

A rumour at the entrance to the centre was that the company is relocating business south of the border.  At least one employee alleged the company will receive government grants to cover wages for the first 90 days at the new American site.

A phone call was made to Thing5 to confirm the veracity of claims made by employees. A person was reached but no comment was offered in time for inclusion in this article.

A spokesperson for the Department of Labour was contacted but could not supply confirmation of labour standards by press time.

esparling@amherstdaily.com

 

UPDATE:

A late-arriving email from the Department of Labour would seem to indicate employees may be mistaken about the eight-week requirement. Based on quick details provided by this newspaper - which may not have captured all of the details pertaining to this specific case - notice requirements are as follows:

"If the employee has worked for:

3 months or more but less than 2 years – the employer must give 1 week notice.

2 years or more but less than 5 years – the employer must give 2 weeks.

5 years or more but less than 10 years – the employer must give 4 weeks.

10 years or more - the employer must give 8 weeks.

If the employer does not want to give the employee notice, the employer must give the employee pay in lieu of (in place of) notice. This means that the employer must pay the employee as much pay as he/she would receive if he/she worked during the notice period."

 

Organizations: Department of Labour

Geographic location: AMHERST, Moncton

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  • bill
    October 26, 2012 - 21:05

    if they take a bus to halifax they would not let them in halifax because nova scotia stops at cob pass any thing from there would have to be passed by the rich of nova scotia the poor can't even get jobs no wonder people go out west goverment of nova scotia cares less about our young people

  • Na
    October 26, 2012 - 17:29

    The labour laws listed above are for when laying off less then ten people. When a company does a mass layoff of more then 10 but less then 20 they are required to give 8 weeks notice. If you would scroll down to the bottom of the page where you got the labour law information you would see this!

  • George
    October 26, 2012 - 05:26

    Al I agree with your view on call centers, they are a quick fix for unemployment schemes and can only exist in this area with ongoing government funding. If you think this Town council is going to get out there and work to attract viable industry to town I believe they are to busy with compromising a community park, beautification of Dickey Creek and thinking about outdoor skating rinks to bother with such mundane things as expanding the tax base and promoting development. You may have this council confused with some other council where the members can pat their head and rub their belly at the same time. How can we expect any real positive outcome after an election where (as example) the Mayor achieved a second term by getting support from approximately 23 per cent of the eligible voters in Town.

  • al
    October 25, 2012 - 20:08

    like I said in my comment yesterday,,,calling centers are not the solution for our bad economic situation,,,there are lots of money spent in my areas of nova scotia,,creating jobs and opportunities,,but nothing here,,I wonder why? we had a new mayors now ,,lets see what they will do,,i hope they have the courage and demand help and action from the Mr dexter and the federal government, not to run the county the old way,,talk and empty promises,we are in a serious trouble,,believe it or not,,there is nothing wrong in asking for help,,we need real business and industry here which will employ lots of people,,not calling centers,,,cumberland county is the main important gate for nova scotia,,and deserve real attention and real serious projects,,i suggest all the mayors and the officials in this county to take a bus and go down to halifax and demand some action