Freedom Mobile’s downtown Windsor call centre has started their layoffs, with 30 workers getting pink slips today, with the rest to be let go by the end of March.
Earlier this week, Shaw announced the Freedom Mobile call centre would be relocating to Victoria, BC, to the company’s offices at Uptown.
Lee Riggs, national president of the Telecommunications Workers Union and USW National Local 1944, told CBC News, “Many of these people that work in this call centre are single moms. There’s one gentleman there that’s planning a wedding here next week, so people were very, very upset,” adding “There was a lot of people crying in the call centre.”
Existing employees were not offered the opportunity to relocate to B.C., says Riggs.
Many have suspected the move may be related to Ontario’s recent minimum wage increase to $15 per hour. The median hourly pay in the Windsor bargaining unit, according to USW is $13.68 per hour.
The general minimum wage in B.C., as of September 15, 2017, is $11.35 per hour.
Shaw says the move is not related to the recent minimum wage increase in Ontario. “We will be consolidating our Canadian customer care operations into a single location in Victoria, B.C. in the coming months,” said Chethan Lakshman, Shaw’s vice president of external affairs to CBC News.
He added, “This transition will improve operational efficiency while ensuring consistent, high-quality, responsive customer service.” Lakshman said the move is “not connected to any labour matters in Windsor or Ontario’s minimum wage,” as it was an “operational decision.”
According to Riggs, the union and Service Canada will help employees laid off find other jobs.