Employees lament call centre’s looming closure

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The reality of being unemployed is starting to set in for many of the 400 staff of Alorica Financial Services that will cease operations at the end of this month.
On Friday, Alorica or N.C.O call centre as it is commonly known in Antigua, announced that it would be shutting down operations on July 31, instead of the original June 29 plan, nonetheless still putting its entire staff out of work.
Workers who contacted OBSERVER media said they are devastated by the looming loss of income.
Six staff sat down with our newsroom to share their views on the situation. Still employed, the staff who did not wish to be named said they don’t want to lose their salaries and other entitlement when the company leaves Antigua.
“We have been on our own and continue to be on our own even as the company looks to take all of its investment out of the country and take it elsewhere. We were hoping that whatever concessions the government offered that the company would be convinced to stay,” a young father said.
After 10 years, the company stated that after much consideration and a comprehensive evaluation, it became increasingly difficult to sustain operations in Antigua given the evolving market trends and strategic needs as well as the high cost of doing business on the island.
A media statement added that the final decision of the site closure was not related to poor performance or lack of skills by Alorica employees, as it was apparently suggested by the prime minister, Gaston Browne, in the past few days.
The group of staff lamented the absence of a single bargaining agent representing all employees.
They are fearful that there would not be adequate time to correctly tabulate all entitlements for staff, as well as to sort out any discrepancies in the proposed payment amount.
“The employees will be left holding the short stick. If, for whatever reason, an employee wished to dispute their vacation sum or severance package then who is that staff supposed to address their concern to when the company is moving to Jamaica?” asked a woman, who said she gave over a decade of service to the company.
Alorica said all agents and supporting staff will be paid their severance entitlements, outstanding vacation pay and outstanding salaries up to July 31, 2018. Additionally, medical insurance will be paid for all qualifying employees up to the end of October, it said.. 
Chief among the workers’ complaint is the time it would take for them to gain new employment all while their monthly and weekly obligations will still have to be met, in addition to taking care of themselves and their families. 

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