ServiCom closes Sydney call centre, throwing hundreds out of work

There was a chaotic scene at a Sydney call centre Thursday where hundreds of employees were told they are out of work just three weeks before Christmas.

Just hours into their work day employees at ServiCom were told to log off and gathered for a meeting.

That's when they were told they'd be out of a job because the company bankrupt and there is no money for anyone. 

“I have a two year-old at home,” said Kayla Williams. “I have a mortgage, I have bills. One income. I'm disgusted. There's no words.”

There was a large police presence outside as a chaotic scene developed inside.

Nearly 700 employees left with no pay just 19 days before Christmas.

“The one smart thing they did was call the police before because it probably would've broke out into a riot in there,” said Lori Riles.“It was pretty bad.”

Other employees not working today found out through social media and arrived minutes later to hear the devastating news for themselves.

“We were led on the whole time,” said Danny Williams. “They were promising bonuses until the very last minute. “I couldn't understand how they could offer bonuses when they couldn't give us our basic paycheque.”

Manager Todd Riley was visibly upset.

He was the man that had to deliver the message to his employees today.

“It's definitely the toughest time that I've had in my entire tenure,” Riley said. “It's very tough.”

The company filed for bankruptcy in the United States last month, closing two call centres and leaving employees in Sydney unpaid for a long period.

Still, they maintained the Sydney call centre was turning a profit, and would remain open.

“To me, it's a very cowardly act,” Riley said. “It's something that this business knew for a while. They lied. They lied to me, which in turn I had to work with 700 people and encourage them that things were going to get better.”

But it didn't, and now for the hundreds whose livelihoods depend on this place say they're left in limbo.

Riley says there is an investor from the United States interested in purchasing the business, but that deal has not yet gone through. He says he should know more next week.

Still, it’s little comfort for those out of work now.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Kyle Moore.