Call centre in Sydney reopens under new management

A Cape Breton call centre that abruptly laid off hundreds of workers just weeks before Christmas is reopening today under new ownership.

Iowa businessman Anthony Marlowe bought the former ServiCom call centre in an auction that was part of ServiCom’s bankruptcy proceedings in the United States.

Todd Riley, the former director of operations who is now vice-president of the Sydney Call Centre, said “a solid 65 per cent” of the new centre’s 475 employees are starting today.

There will be some refresher training and staff will be going over their new benefits package, he said. 

The others will start next Monday. He said some other former ServiCom employees are still in talks with the company or are working at another call centre.

Most former ServiCom employees have returned to work. (Brett Ruskin/CBC)

Marlowe Companies Inc. said earlier this week that if hired over the next month, workers with call centre experience from the last 90 days will receive a $300 starting bonus, along with the base pay and vacation levels from their previous employers and benefits.

“It’s a nice gesture just to say, ‘Hey, we understand that everyone has gone through this. We want to do a little bit but we want to do a lot more heading into 2019,'” Riley told Information Morning Cape Breton

The starting wage for newly hired workers will increase to $12 per hour from $11 per hour.

All work programs will restart by Jan. 14, and the company is still accepting applications.

MCI had been in negotiations to buy the call centre in the weeks before its sudden closure.

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