CallActive workers left in lurch offered some cheer for Christmas

Prime Minister John Key opened CallActive House on October 1, 2013, along with then Wellington City Councillor John ...
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Prime Minister John Key opened CallActive House on October 1, 2013, along with then Wellington City Councillor John Morrison, and CallActive CEO Rick Allan.

Workers who were told to hang up their headphones and immediately leave their stations by bosses at a Wellington call centre are being offered a bit of Christmas cheer.

On Friday, about 60 workers at Wellington's CallActive were left devastated when the Australian-owned call centre operator folded.

However, another Australian company – Broadband Solutions – is encouraging former CallActive staff to apply for jobs with them "as soon as possible".

Broadband Solutions managing director Sam Bashiry said former CallActive staff affected by the collapse should get in touch.

"We have openings in a number of relevant positions and would love for CallActive staff to apply," Bashiry said.

Former staff members have also refuted company director Rick Allan's claims workers had been paid for all the work they had done on Thursday.

One former employee said: "Workers were paid on Thursday but that was for the previous fortnight. They have not been paid at all for the last week as well as all the holiday pay.

"Also none of the workers have been contacted at all! They don't even know who the liquidator is they are supposed claim with. They have had no emails or calls or letters. absolutely nothing to this point in time."

Another call centre worker said they were not paid for the final week of work.

"This is the worst time to lose your job, if notice had of been given to us so we at least had time to try and find other work, the blow would have not hit us so hard. But the fact that Rick Allan didn't think to even try and front up to tell us his business was failing was what made things hard for us to swallow. 

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"I'm heartbroken. I've not only lost my job, but my family at call active too." 

Meanwhile the Taxpayers' Union says the Wellington City Council should learn its lesson from the failure of CallActive and ditch its corporate welfare mentality.

Taxpayers' Union executive director Jordan Williams said the council should stop using ratepayer money to try to pick winners and subsidise favoured businesses.

"If corporate welfare was the solution, Wellington would be thriving. But ask any property owner – it's not."

What the council called 'innovation' was in fact code for more corporate welfare for overseas owned businesses, he said.

Former Wellington City Councillor John Morrison, who became CallActive's business development manager after failing in his bid to become Wellington mayor and Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown have not responded to calls.

Morrison said on Sunday he had done consulting for CallActive but had not worked with them since earlier this year.

It would be "inappropriate" to comment on job losses that he was unaware of, he said.

On Sunday Wade-Brown said she had heard of the closure, but maintained there was still a future for such businesses in the capital. 

"It's really tough on the staff a month before Christmas," she said.

 - Stuff

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