Concerns raised about NCO severance packages

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There are concerns that approximately 300 workers may not get their proper due when NCO Financial Services at Sir George Walter Highway closes its door next week Friday.
Employees told OBSERVER media yesterday that they are still unclear how their severance will be paid and if there will be enough time for queries since staff were only notified verbally of the June 29 closure.
“The manager came out the meeting and said it was a done deal. We still not sure about our money, there are some people here for a few months and some here for over 12 years. It seems like this is a rushed thing and we have no union so we are not sure if we will get what we really earned,” a concerned employee said.
The workers of Alorica, commonly known as NCO call centre, are not collectively unionised and Esrome Roberts, the President of the Antigua and Barbuda
Workers’ Union said attempts to unionise the workers failed.
 “There may be some individuals that may be part of a trade union, efforts have been made to have them unionised but when the numbers were required for the day of balloting many of them did not show and that was some time ago,” Roberts said.
He said that the closure of NCO would have a significant impact on the economy because it’s not just the workers but their dependents who will be affected.
Roberts is hoping that the company will fulfill its statutory obligations to the workers in terms of severance and vacation owed, among other things.
The union president is again making a pitch for the government to make it mandatory for businesses to contribute to a fund from which workers can be paid severance and other benefits if a company ccloses/fails.
“It is time that the government sought to introduce a levy on employers that would circumvent situations where monies are contributed to an escrow account, similarly to how deductions are made for social security. Based on the law under the Business Act, employees are the first … if there is money to be paid we want to make sure there is a protective mechanism,” he said.

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