Thursday, 12 February 2009 09:40

Future of Timmins call centre depends on finding workers

12/01/2009

TeleTech (TT) will be shutting down its local operation on February 28 and eliminating the jobs of the 412 employees.

Up to 600 qualified workers needed

The decision on whether a new call-centre company comes into Timmins will likely depend on how many local people step forward and offer their services as customer care agents.

The city is actively working to find a new customer care company since it was announced before Christmas that TeleTech (TT) would be shutting down its local operation on February 28 and eliminating the jobs of the 412 employees there.

Ross Beattie, the president of On Line Support (OLS) told a news conference this week that he is willing to bring his company to Timmins to move into the TT building and create upwards of 600 jobs, provided OLS can find the enough people.

“The single biggest role is the labour availability of qualified, motivated, interested individuals within a community that would like to support an operation of our type and that is the predominant factor in our decisions.”

To that end OLS will be holding four job fairs in Timmins next week; two job fairs within TeleTech on Wednesday and Thursday, and two job fairs for the general public on Friday and Saturday.

Beattie told city reporters that he is hopeful that OLS will find the right mix of workers in Timmins to satisfy the needs of his client.

After touring the TT building, Beattie admitted he was pleased with the way the operation was run.

“In spending time this morning with the current employees of the operation over at TeleTech, that is a group of people who have risen above some negative circumstances that are currently before them. They are a group of people who have performed extremely well over the last six years and we are looking at the opportunity to capitalize on that and take it to the next level,” he said.

“We are looking for the interest level that exists within the community of Timmins and we will be running job fairs in order to ascertain exactly what the level of support would be for our company coming to Timmins in order to support our Canadian client,” said Beattie.

He was asked if there was anything he saw at the TeleTech operation to cause him concern.

“To be quite frank, nothing concerned me,” said Beattie. “What did impress me was the demeanour of all of the employees currently in there that are working underneath this current situation and this current timeline. The employees appeared to be one cohesive team. There was respect and engagement between the front line troops of that organization and the senior leadership team.”

Beattie also mentioned that the Timmins workers continued to display cheerfulness and professionalism, despite the fact they are facing layoffs.

“That speaks magnitudes to me personally as to the calibre and the credibility these people we have over there and we would be honoured to have them as part of our organization, should we make the final decision to come to Timmins,” he said.

Beattie's optimism was tempered by the fact that he said there are other Canadian communities vying for the jobs besides Timmins. He said while Timmins offers several obvious benefits such as a modern building and skilled workers, the same benefits exist in other communities.

TEDC chair Dave McGirr told reporters it's a good reason for job seekers in Timmins to consider OLS as a suitable employer, saying it represented a strong boost for the economic health not only for Timmins, but also Northeastern Ontario.

McGirr says he is encouraging job seekers to attend the job fairs.

A similar message came from Timmins Mayor Tom Laughren.

“I also want to say that from a city perspective and from a Timmins Economic Development perspective as well, the only focus that we have had in this process is we want to preserve the 400 plus jobs that we have sitting over at TeleTech right now,” the mayor told the news conference.

Beattie said time is a significant factor and that his client is expecting an answer by the end of the month.

“So by the end of January, we have to have a decision,” said Beattie. “So we have a lot of work to do over the next couple of weeks.”

Beattie says if things work out for the city “we would look be taking over operations in the March time period and following that we would look at going into live production mode somewhere towards the middle or end of April.”

 

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