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Startek call centre to close in Kingston, hundreds of employees to be laid off

Last Updated on March 9, 2021 by YGK News Staff

Startek has announced that it will close its Kingston location on April 21st, employees have revealed. As a result, at least 260 employees at the call centre will be left without a job.

According to an employee, staff were told about the layoffs last month in a meeting with management. No official communication has been distributed as of yet. Employees were told that the decision was reached their after the outsourcing company’s client, Xfinity mobile, terminated their relationship with Startek Canada.

It’s not the first time that Startek’s client relationships affected Kingston jobs. When the facility opened in 2003, Startek eliminated staff roles in Greeley, Colorado and moved the employment opportunities to Kingston. At the time, Colorado employees were outraged that their customer service jobs would be lost to cheaper labour in Canada. Startek’s Colorado facility has been permanently closed since 2018.

Employees say there is a chance that the closure won’t be permanent. However, they say that they have been handed a notice of termination with severance and they aren’t “hopeful that the jobs will return to Kingston.”

In October 2020, Startek announced that it would eliminate its brick and mortar facility and move to a virtual office. Startek’s global chief operations officer Mario Baddour said that the move was driven by the company’s desire to “innovate.” 

At least twelve employees raised concerns about the move to a virtual office space, which included signing an agreement requiring employees to submit three photos of their home workspaces. They were also required to ensure that they have a distraction free workspace. 

However, the company now says that they are looking to create a viable office space in Honduras. Startek became the first foreign outsourcer to set up an office space in Tegucigalpa, Honduras in 2014. Since then, Honduras has experienced rapid growth and has become a call centre hub. The company now has three offices in Honduras, with over 2,200 people employed at the offices.

It is not yet clear if Kingston’s employees are being outsourced to the Honduras.

The news of Startek’s closure prompted community members to express their frustration on social media. “Another slap to hard working people trying to get by on minimum wages,” one Twitter user said

YGK News has reached out Startek for comment, but did not receive a response at the time of publication.

Editor‘s note: Please note that this is an evolving story and will be updated as more information is released. We have clarified that employees were told that Xfinity ended its contract with Startek Canada. We have also clarified that it is not clear whether the jobs in Kingston are now being outsourced. We regret not including these facts. The employees in question have asked to not to be named for fear of losing severance pay. Concerns should be sent to https://ygknews.ca/contact.

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