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Freedom Mobile to Relocate Windsor Call Centre to Victoria Despite Union Protest

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Shaw plans to move its call centre from Windsor, Ontario, across the country to Victoria, B.C. According to the United Steelworkers (USW) union representing 130 employees, the move is being called an “unjustified attack on employees,” reads a press release.

Screenshot 2018 01 15 11 47 54

Lee Riggs, President TWU, USW National Local 1944, said in a statement “Freedom and Shaw are demonstrating that they do not properly value either their loyal employees or the Windsor community.”

According to USW:

Freedom and Shaw took an antagonistic stance against the organizing efforts of employees to join the union in late 2016 and early 2017. After the successful vote in favour of joining in January 2017, Shaw and Freedom continued that aggressive stance during bargaining, threatening to lock out all bargaining unit members in September 2017. Employees narrowly voted to ratify a first collective agreement on Sept. 20, 2017.

According to the union, three waves of layoffs will take place on January 17, February 21 and March 28.

“With over 1.18 million subscribers as of January 2018, Freedom Mobile contributes greatly to Shaw’s profits. Shaw generously rewards its shareholders and executives. To take this action now against employees in Windsor is outrageous,” said Ken Neumann, USW National Director for Canada.

The Freedom Mobile call centre is currently located at 525 Windsor Ave. There is no word on where the new call centre will be located in Victoria, B.C.

Four months ago, Freedom Mobile threatened to lockout employees in Windsor. A lengthy discussion regarding the move can be read here on Reddit.

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  • Tim

    I highly doubt, Freedom Mobile is “contributing generously to Shaw’s profits” as the article states. They recently bought this inferior, value brand cell provider with dated technology that required and still requires a lot of capital expenditure to make it competitive. They’re also relying on smaller margins than the incumbents to make a go of it.

    The only reason that having a single call center on the west coast makes no sense to me is that you’re going to have to find low paid CSR’s who are motivated to get up at around 4am so they can get to work for 5am and serve EST customers. At least with the center in Windsor, with the opposite time issue, you don’t have to find people are gungho to deal with pissed off customers at an unholy hour.

  • cayaguy

    I believe if memory serves me correct they have the real estate already in Victoria (offices in uptown business center and or Keating business center) and possibly the lease in Windsor is up. This makes total sense to get a new workforce like Victoria they can pay min wage and casual only. Victoria is going through a huge labor shortage for customer service (due to the cost of living) so this is a welcome influx to the local economy.

  • FragilityG4

    Don’t be mad at Shaw… this is because of Wynne. Period.

  • Pokieo

    Guys, you’re missing the bigger picture. Remember, minimum wage went up in Ontario. Shaw/Freedom is getting around paying higher wages. They’re a bunch of shysters, and this is their way of getting around this story without raising awareness to that point.

  • Pokieo

    It’s funny to think that Shaw/Freedom is doing all of this during their #PinkShirtPromise campaign. Corporations are some of the biggest bullies out there.

  • FragilityG4

    Not to mention hydro prices. It’s a Liberal problem.

  • Joe

    Hopefully the Victoria call centre unionizes as well. That will teach Shaw a valuable lesson. Funny how pro-corporation some of the comments here are. Really makes me wonder what kind of rich weirdos post on this site.

  • erth

    these csr jobs could have been moved to mexico or ireland or the philippines. we are lucky they kept them in canada.

  • Cornfed710

    Same union as mine, scary 🙁

  • Cornfed710

    Do we know if any of these employees were minimum wage earners? I guess we can assume so.

  • greg greg

    avg wage was 13.68/hr…………..now $14/hr. minimum.

  • greg greg

    no it’s because Shaw is a greedy, scum sucking company that reaps profits off the backs of workers earning poverty wages.

  • greg greg

    also a lot of commenters who are jealous of Union workers

  • FragilityG4

    “Poverty wages” that’s cute.

  • nando

    Sounds like we need to get the government/CRTC on this ASAP. I’llchampion this on everyone’s behalf. Just to be sure our wish list is…

    1 – make sure companies pay their employees more than they need to. Dont worry, we’re ok if companies increase price on us cause we’re Canadian and we’re nice like that

    2 – keep price low while doing that – wait, that goes against point number one. Well, keep them “low-ish”

    3 – dont let telcos make decisions about their workforce that would be considered a god business decision. You know, like combining them with your entire workforce located in Western Canada. Don’t let them do it no matter what, people be mad.

    i’ll keep everyone posted. This is my top priority.

  • Aleks Oniszczak

    Totally agree – there seems to be a knee-jerk reaction to condemn the customer and praise the corporation in most articles on this site. The sad part is that I don’t think they are rich weirdos at all, but just average folks that have been brainwashed by the media. The same average folks that would BENEFIT from a union actively argue against them. Even as the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. They don’t realize that when other workers do well, it brings pressure to THEIR employers to ALSO increase THEIR wages. Everyone wins with decreased income inequality, even the rich! Unions are one way to help get there.

  • Aleks Oniszczak

    I think you hit the nail on the head. It’s too bad jealousy is self-defeating.

  • Aleks Oniszczak

    This is true. It’s too bad our government thinks its acceptable for Canadian companies to pay less than minimum wage to workers just because they are in another country. If they kept the rules fair, corporations wouldn’t have that to use as leverage to bust unions.

  • Aleks Oniszczak

    Yeah, but it’s the government who lets them do it.

  • Aleks Oniszczak

    “we’re ok if companies increase price on us cause we’re Canadian and we’re nice like that” That’s what corporations do, and it works! Name one time taxes went down for corporations and that resulted in prices going down for consumers. Corporations never need an excuse to increase prices anyway, they have proven that – just look at your cable bill.

  • Bill___A

    Why would a steelworkers’ union be representing communications workers? I am of the impression that there is a union for communications workers – the CWA. Wouldn’t they be the ones to have the expertise to deal with a communications company? That said, Shaw should be able to consolidate their operations if they so wish,.They bought a company with operations “out East” it makes sense to move them.

  • mcfilmmakers

    Your statement contradicts itself. If the cost of living is so high, a minimum wage job can’t satisfy the needs of an employee.

  • iverge

    Well at-least they are still keeping the call centre in Canada unlike Walmart and Hudson Bay with their call centres in The Philippines,

  • poopchute

    Unions are such a scourge.
    These employees were warned that unionizing would cause the call center to close shop.
    But the employees chose to believe the lofty future that the union promised.

    Another company destroyed by a union, and another hard lesson learned by some unfortunate people.

  • Joe

    Aleks, thank you! Your comments are always well thought out and I appreciate your perspective.

    And you’re right: companies raise their prices all the time – 99% of the time, it has nothing to do with how much the workers get paid. We can’t continue having a world where the rich keep getting richer. It’s not sustainable!

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