Bell Canada recently announced seven long-term employees working out of an Ottawa call centre are being relocated to the Creekbank Campus in Mississauga. Some of the long-time employees — represented by Unifor Local 6004 — have worked for the company for more than 30 years.
Employees who are unable to make the move to Mississauga and who are unable to find another position within the company in Ottawa will be laid off as of Jan. 2, 2014.
“It’s awful that this announcement comes right before the holiday season,” said Naureen Rizvi, Unifor’s telecommunications director. “These employees and their families are facing a tough decision and are given little time to make it. This is hardly the thanks they should get for their dedication and years of service.”
Unifor is concerned Bell Canada plans to centralize all its operations to just two main locations — Creekbank Campus in Mississauga and the company’s complex on Nun’s Island just off of Montreal — and will force employees to uproot their families, change schools in the middle of the year and find new homes.
“We have had many colleagues, many who have worked for years at Bell, lose their jobs due to this consolidation,” said Unifor Local 6004 president Michelle Arruda. “In the end, there won’t be any of these good jobs in smaller cities and towns. This will have a devastating impact on a lot of communities.”
The union, which represents over 30,000 telecommunications workers across Canada, is calling on the company to reverse its decision and maintain all available positions in Ottawa.
“We are centralizing some support operations for our field services team, consolidating work previously done in Ottawa at our Mississauga campus. All employees affected have been offered the chance to relocate,” said Bell Canada representative Jason Laszlo. “There is no net loss of jobs because of the change. Bell has grown our team in Ottawa by approximately 200 people in the last year to support expansion of Fibe TV and internet services in the region.”
Laszlo stressed those 200 jobs were a net gain and not replacement hiring, saying, “The maximum number that may depart the company because of the change is seven... Overall Bell employs more than 55,000 people across Canada.”