NEW GLASGOW - Employees at the New Glasgow Convergys were told Tuesday that the company is closing the location on Sept. 28.
PR specialist Brooke Beiting said the employees were given notice and told they can apply for work at home positions or other internal positions. If employees were to relocate however, the nearest location is Cape Breton. No severance will be given.
The location opened in October 2001. Right now there are 300 people working there.
The company was a major full time employer in the town.
After the closure of the call centre in New Glasgow, the companies only remaining location in the province will be in Cape Breton.
Bad news travelled fast throughout Convergys today as employees heard they would be losing their jobs in September.
Many sitting outside the call centre hadn’t yet heard the news directly from the source, but they were already thinking about how it would affect the employees and the county.
Michele Ferguson, of Westville, has been at Convergys for four years after getting laid off from Bell Aliant.
“I managed to go through it once. I’ll manage to go through it again,” she said.
Coming only three months after Michelin’s announcement that it would be shutting down part of its production, many Convergys employees were questioning what it would mean for jobs in this county.
“The county is going to be hit hard,” Ferguson said.
She believes neighbouring businesses will feel the loss with several workers heading to Sobeys, Giant Tiger and the dollar store on their lunch breaks.
She questioned if she, and others, would be able to find jobs.
Her children are grown, a daughter graduating from a nursing program and a son finishing high school, but she was worried about how others are going to manage.
“Who is going to hire someone at (age) 60?” one employee said, adding that there are several couples working at the centre, forcing them to lose their entire household income.
It wasn’t only about the loss of a job. For one woman, she was losing her friends.
“We’re a big happy family,” she said. “I’ve called in sick twice in nine years.”
Several employees declined to comment as they hadn’t yet received notice, and we’re still processing the information.
“Today’s news of Convergys closure comes as a shock and is definitely a big concern for our region. This is a significant number of jobs and income that these employees and their families need and count on,” says New Glasgow Mayor Barrie MacMillan. “Our community is still hurting from the Michelin layoffs so this is another hit to Pictou County and to northern Nova Scotia. The loss of these jobs impacts many people and many businesses.”
Convergys has been a significant employer to Pictou County residents since 2001 and a good corporate citizen supporting many community initiatives, he said.
“These are critical economic times for Nova Scotia and we are at a crossroads where strong action is needed at all levels-regional, provincial and national. Job losses such as these reverberate throughout the community,” says Mayor MacMillan.
He called on the county to remain strong.
"We have strong entrepreneurial leadership many vibrant businesses, substantial community resources and quality of life assets. We are committed to providing an environment that supports business through strong infrastructure and collaboration."