Major employer in Sydney, N.S. files bankruptcy, leaving employees unpaid
SYDNEY, N.S. -- A company that owns a large call centre in Cape Breton has filed for bankruptcy in the U.S., leaving employees without a paycheque and an uncertain future.
More than 700 employees at ServiCom in Sydney were told on Friday that they wouldn’t be receiving a paycheque for at least a week , and they say that’s a major problem.
“Most people around here live paycheque to paycheque, when we don’t have that pay, what are we going to do to pay our rent? Groceries? How are we going to feed children? How are we going to clothe our children?,” said Stephanie Smith.
Smith says she is angry and frustrated, and her doctor has put her on stress leave as a result. But she says, this isn’t the first time the company hasn’t been able to pay their employees.
“A lot of them aren’t really told what’s going on. They are working there like zombies, working nine to five, still doing the daily grind, but being told excuses so they have false hope,” said Smith.
Manager Todd Riley confirmed the company has filed for bankruptcy in the United States and he says until that process is finalized, no one will be getting paid.
ServiCom closed two call centres in the U.S. at the end of September without warning, leaving nearly 350 people out of work-- and that has left the employees at the Sydney location worried.
“You can only believe somebody for so long, they’re crying wolf. They say we can pay you, these people are going to wait a week or more to get a paycheque that was due yesterday – it’s ridiculous,” Smith said.
But Riley says the company is not closing the Sydney location; he says the business model here is generating a profit.
“Every day, every month we review the profit and loss statement, I will say we are running a very strong gross profit and net income. We are exceptionally strong,” said Riley.
Riley adds that employees will be given additional bonuses when their pays are ready of $250, but Smith says she’s taking that promise with a grain of salt.
“It’s going to be bad if you go to work to sign in and your card doesn’t work, and nobody is there,” she says.
According to a letter the employees were given, the $250 loyalty bonus will be handed out on Dec. 14. Other incentives include a new retirement program and a tuition reimbursement program to eligible employees.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Kyle Moore