Job front takes another hit

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The last time a major employer in Pictou County announced changes resulting in large-scale layoffs, people’s reaction was: can this area take any more bad news?

Sadly, another blow was delivered Tuesday with the announcement from Convergys that it will be closing at the end of September, potentially affecting about 300 employees.

As for the rhetorical question of whether we can deal with any more of this, we know the answer we’d like to give, but unfortunately for most of us business decisions are out of our hands.

With Convergys pulling up stakes, one bit of consolation is left behind in that company spokesperson Brooke Beiting said staff can apply for internal positions with the company, including some that would allow them to work from home. No number was supplied in that regard, but it could help soften the blow.

First of all, our thoughts and best wishes go out to these employees and their families. Not a lot of jobs are available in the area at this time. Put in perspective, 300 jobs in a county population of 46,000 is huge.

Additionally, no severance pay will be given.

Among the general public, the pullout will leave a bitter taste for some. A number of call centres opened in small towns across Nova Scotia a decade or so ago, with plenty of hoopla about the job numbers, and often with a boost from government. A good number of those have closed – which led many to speculate as to when New Glasgow’s time would be up.

Nova Scotia Business Inc. reports that Convergys in New Glasgow received about $7.8 million in payroll rebate incentives between 2001 and 2010.

It invites some tough questions about the role of the province in enticing companies to set up shop. But there are no guarantees, and perhaps we should be thankful when a company employs several hundred people for 14 years.

There’s no point crying over spilled milk, but the campaign just got a bit steeper to ensure this region is competitive and open for business and that companies get the message.

Organizations: Convergys, Nova Scotia Business

Geographic location: New Glasgow, Nova Scotia

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