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Province taking ServiCom to court to get back pay for employees
Some of the people who worked at the ServiCom call centre in Sydney say they were left unpaid when the centre closed without notice last December.
On Wednesday, they were relieved to learn, that they may be getting their back pay as the provincial government takes the company to court.
It was business as usual today inside the new Cape Breton call centre, but for some employees here, the last few months have been filled with financial frustration.
“The financial hole -- I'm guessing close to $5,000,” said Betty Bartlett, a former employee of ServiCom which filed for bankruptcy south of the border last year.
The workers in Sydney were left without pay for five weeks. It was just before Christmas and its employees were left scrambling.
“I'm behind about a year,” Bartlett said. “It will take me a year to get caught up based on what I had to borrow with interest charges, using credit cards.”
As part of an investigation, the provincial labour department says the former ServiCom workers should get back pay and will be making a court application for a bankruptcy order against ServiCom in Canada.
“It now becomes a process of the U.S. court filing around ServiCom and we want to get it into Nova Scotia jurisdiction, so we can access federal funding for employees,” said Nova Scotia Business Minister Geoff MacLellan.
MacLellan says the total owed is $4.8 million if every employee was maximized in terms of what they lost. The affected workers will be sent letters this week explaining the investigation and the pay owed to them.
“Even anybody that didn't have financial problems, it would still help,” said Alicia Donato, another former employee. “It's money right, everybody could use some. I don't want to say extra money because there's no such thing. But everybody could use it.”
The province of Nova Scotia is footing the legal bill to allow these proceedings to advance.
If the bankruptcy order is made by the court, it'll allow former ServiCom employees to apply to a federal program for up to $6,600 each.
That might bring an end to the rollercoaster ride, or at least make it a little smoother.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Kyle Moore.