ServiCom has closed its call centre in Sydney, and laid off all 600 workers.
“ServiCom site director Todd Riley blasted the company’s executive team for misleading him and all employees at the centre,” reports Chris Shannon for the Cape Breton Post:
“Any time would be hard, but Christmastime? To me, it’s a very cowardly act. It’s something this business knew for a while it was going through and they lied,” he said.
“They lied to me and, in turn, I had to work with 700 people — to go in day in and day out to keep people on the phones encouraging them that things are going to get better.
“I am very, very disappointed in the leadership.”
For the last several weeks, due to the Chapter 11 filing in U.S. bankruptcy court in Connecticut, paycheques have been as much as five to six days behind schedule.
In a memo to staff in early November, Riley indicated it was his hope to get employee pays back on schedule for the Dec. 28 payday. Employees were also promised a so-called $250 “loyalty” bonus along with other financial perks for sticking with the company in the days following the bankruptcy filing. It was to be paid out Dec. 14.
The call centre lost about 50 to 75 employees after the Chapter 11 filing, according to Riley.
For those who decided to stay, no one will see their bonus or their regular paycheques. Employees last received a pay on or around Nov. 21.
“Justin Boutilier, who has worked at ServiCom for 14½ years, says workers are owed about three weeks of pay,” reports Susan Bradley for the CBC:
“They got an extra three weeks work out of everyone and now everything goes to bankruptcy. That’s $1,500 I’m not going to get — I owe Eastlink, power. No one’s going to get EI before Christmas. It’s tough, I got two kids.”
About six police officers were also at the 90 Inglis St. site.
“People were going to be mad, but the cops were here before we had the meeting. People knew about this. They stretched every last minute … out of us,” Boutilier said.
It should be noted that ServiCom has received over $1.5 million in government assistance through the years, including:
Nova Scotia Business, Inc.
2009: $914,400 in payroll rebates
2. CN wants to buy HalTerm
“Canadian National Railway Co. has put in a preliminary offer to buy the largest shipping terminal in Eastern Canada, in a bid to capture some of New York’s container business,” reports Rick Grant for the Financial Post:
In an interview on Wednesday, chief executive officer Jean-Jacques Ruest said the ambition with the potential acquisition of the 30-hectare Halterm Container Terminal is to create a “Prince Rupert of the East.”
Halifax is the fourth-busiest port behind Vancouver, Montreal and Prince Rupert, B.C. CN provides the transcontinental rail service for the Fairview Container Terminal in Prince Rupert.
Ruest said CN has a partner in its bid for the Halterm terminal, but didn’t disclose who it is. The railway was once a part owner of the facility, back when the company was a Crown corporation.
Halterm was sold to Australia’s Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets, which bought the terminal in 2007 for $173 million. CN provides the rail out of Halifax.
Who knows if this will go through, but if it does, that about means the end of the Melford and Sydney megaport proposals, I would think. Also the end of any meaningful prospect that HalTerm will be shut down and the land turned over for condos.
3. New businesses & society registrations
I’ve been wanting to revive this feature for some time, and I think I’ve finally found the trick to it (basically, I do the work during what are otherwise dead times for me). In short, I’ll only post about businesses and societies that either interest me personally or that I think might have some wider interest. So this is not an exhaustive list, but only some of the new society and businesses that have registered in Nova Scotia over the past week.
This week, there seems to be a focus on dog-oriented businesses.
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4. Tufts Cove oil spill
The Tufts Cove oil spill was caused by a corroded pipe, reports Alicia Draus for Global:
“We can confirm that the hole that formed in the pipe, it was a small section of pipe that was corroded,” said [Nova Scotia Power spokesperson Tiffany] Chase.
“Generally that pipe is covered in insulation, so we had previously undetected this portion of the pipe.”
“Why didn’t you do that sooner?” questioned Mark Butler with the Ecology Action Centre. Corrosion, he argues, is nothing new at the site and there should have been better practices in place.
Chase says the company has always abided by a pipe inspection program that is regulated in the province, but says a full analysis into the root cause is ongoing, though the final report will not be made public.
5. Plastic bag ban
“With hopes of creating a jury-rigged province-wide ban, Halifax’s environment committee is recommending that regional council eliminate plastic shopping bags in the municipality,” reports Zane Woodford for StarMetro Halifax:
During a meeting on Thursday, the committee voted down the staff recommendation to work with businesses to reduce the number of plastic bags being used in Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM), and voted instead for an alternative motion from Deputy Mayor Tony Mancini.
The committee recommended that regional council vote to direct staff to “collaborate with the 10 largest Nova Scotia municipalities to draft a bylaw for council’s consideration as soon possible, but no later than December 2019, to eliminate the distribution of single-use plastic bags, without first attempting a voluntary approach.”
6. Stadium PR push continues
1. Maurice Ruddick
“Travelling near Springhill recently, I thought about Stacey Abrams, the Georgia politician who, in a bitter gubernatorial race against a white male opponent, lost her bid to become the first African-American woman to lead a state,” writes Evelyn White for the Examiner:
The annual dispatch of a Christmas tree from Nova Scotia to Boston commemorates the province’s ties to Massachusetts residents who provided aid in the aftermath of the Halifax Explosion. But quiet as it’s been kept, Nova Scotia also holds a historic link to the state that saw Abrams disparaged (along with a flurry of “n words”) as a candidate who “white women can be tricked into voting for, especially the fat ones.”
For it was exactly sixty years ago on this Saturday (December 8, 1958), that LIFE magazine ran a Georgia-related feature story about Maurice Ruddick, an African Nova Scotian coal miner and central figure in the October 23, 1958, Springhill Mining Disaster. The widely read weekly magazine was then one of the most prominent periodicals in North America.
It was not a nice scene.
2. Acadian terminal terminated
“On the Twitter and Instagram I’ve been noticing photos and memories of the old Acadian Bus Lines terminal on Almon Street, that has been knocked flat to make way for more new housing,” writes Stephen Archibald:
I was late to the party, but for the last ten years or so I’ve been a fan of the building and have often paused to admire its mid century modern charms. This is what the Almon Street facade looked like in recent years, long after it had ceased to be a bus terminal.
Archibald goes on to provide lots of historic photos of the old terminal, and then some delightful photo bombs by Acadian buses.
No public meetings.
Thesis Defence, Mechanical Engineering (Friday, 9am, Room 430, Goldberg Computer Science Building) — PhD candidate Usman Ahmad will defend his thesis, “Novel Multilateral Teleoperation and Cooperative Control Approaches for Multiple Manipulators.”
The Statistical Mechanics of Hydrogen Bonding at the Liquid Water Interface(Friday, 1:30pm, Room 226, Chemistry Building) — Adam P. Willard from MIT will speak.
Amos Paul Kennedy Jr. talks Printing & Civil Rights (Friday, 7pm, New Academic Building) — hosted by Katherine Victoria Taylor and El Jones.
In the harbour
07:00: Atlantic Sky, ro-ro container ship, sails from Fairview Cove for New York
14:00: Tidewater Enabler, offshore supply ship, sails from Pier 9 for sea
15:00: Berlin Bridge, container ship, sails from Fairview Cove for New York
15:00: YM Moderation, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Colombo, Sri Lanka
15:30: Lake Kivu, car carrier, sails from Autoport for sea
16:30: ZIM Shekou, container ship, sails from Pier 42 for sea
It’s been a long but fruitful week.
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