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West Corp closes doors--hundreds lose jobs


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#21 rjag

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Posted 12 March 2008 - 11:33 AM

The reason it doesn't sound like much is because it isn't - especially for a family. Bear in mind that even if West employees are getting 40 hours of work per week, their gross pay is only $520/week. Factor in at least 25% for taxes and deductions, and you end up with a net pay of only $390/week. How on earth does one support a family in Victoria on less than $1600/month? Forgive me if I don't weep for the demise of West. I am sure their employees will find at least equitible, if not better employment elsewhere in the region.


You're right, it doesnt sound like much, especially if you are a bit older and have a family to support. But that was the wage offered. Keep in mind, any employee can vote with their feet. If they feel the wage isnt good enough, go elsewhere, or improve their skillset etc. Working at West is not a jail sentence.

Heres a challenge for you, go lease a building in Victoria, figure out a product or service to provide, hire the staff with a "living wage" and then price your product to be competitive with the market.

Most business largest expense are wages and there is a direct correlation between the price of the service and the wage paid. Looked at the cost of construction recently?

I agree with you that people deserve to earn enough to live, however $12/hour is probably more than adequate in saskatoon, but not here for a principle bread winner. For a student perhaps.

I always wanted to know what a living wage is...how much?

#22 rjag

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Posted 12 March 2008 - 11:36 AM

The Mayor of Central Saanich was quoted on cfax....

"MARR FEELS IT IS SAD TO SEE THE LAYOFFS, BUT AS FAR AS THE IMPACT ON HIS MUNICIPALITY IS CONCERNED, IT'S NOT A HUGE PROBLEM. IN FACT, HE’S NOT SAD TO SEE IT GO.

"THE TAX IS BASED ON THE ASSETS OF THE BUILDING, AND THE BUILDING IS STILL HERE. AS FAR AS I'M CONCERNED, IN A SENSE, IT'S A GOOD THING. PEOPLE [HAVE BEEN] SAYING SINCE WEST MOVED INTO HERE THE TRAFFIC HAS INCREASED PROBABLY ABOUT THREE TIMES – ESPECIALLY IN THE OLDFIELD ROAD AREA."

MARR SAYS JUST THIS MORNING HE WAS TALKING WITH A LADY WHO LIVES ON OLDFIELD ROAD WHO CLAIMED OVER 600 VEHICLES WENT BY IN AN HOURS TIME."



So, he doesn’t like traffic (but won’t do anything about a Keating Interchange) and he thinks an empty building still generates revenue to pay taxes….Lord help us all.

Anybody consider the ripple effect 450 less people in Keating will have on the restaurants, grocery stores etc. This is not good news for this community

#23 Mike K.

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Posted 12 March 2008 - 12:10 PM

Good call. He can rest easy knowing his tax revenue is still coming in and Ms. Oldfield can get back to counting sheep and cattle.

They dodged quite a bullet up there, didn't they?

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#24 G-Man

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Posted 12 March 2008 - 12:43 PM

Yeah I bet Radar's Roost may be quite miffed by this announcement.

I bet they now cut back the bus service to the community, the 75 has been quite modified just to appease West.

#25 aastra

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Posted 12 March 2008 - 01:10 PM

Victoria would be so wonderful if not for the people. Buildings would be empty, roads would be empty....it would be paradise.

#26 spanky123

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Posted 12 March 2008 - 04:01 PM

There was a local anti poverty group that calculated the "living wage" to be about $18 an hour. They did the survey about 2 years ago so I suspect that it would be higher now. Some of the costs were questionable, but they were probably not too far off for a family.

If you are single and sharing a 3 bedroom duplex with a couple of buddies then the cost of living would be quite a bit lower.

#27 Baro

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Posted 12 March 2008 - 04:34 PM

West was an awesome job for a lot of people that were either going to school, had disabilities, or just couldn't get anything else. It was very flexible, paid pretty good for entry level and had nice benefits. About half of everyone I know in my age range has worked there at some point and it's been a great safety net for a lot of people. No one WANTS to work at west, but it's far better than going on EI and a way easier/comfortable job than others that pay the same. Everyone knew that if you fell on hard times or just needed a temporary job till you found something better, west was always there for you.

With little/no experience it's very very hard to find a reliable job in Victoria that doesn't involve backbreaking labour or boiling oil.

#28 Mike K.

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Posted 12 March 2008 - 05:13 PM

While other cities would be reeling over the closure, Victoria is all smiles.

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#29 spanky123

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Posted 12 March 2008 - 06:26 PM

While other cities would be reeling over the closure, Victoria is all smiles.



Lets put this into perspective. When West opened, politicians of all stripes were falling over each other for photo ops and to take credit for securing the deal. If you recall, they took over the from JDS disaster and starting salaries at the time were $8-$10 an hour.

As far as traffic is concerned, I am sure that the 500+ JDS employees making $60K+ a year drove far more cars then the West employees. The parking lot was built for JDS.

Things didn't work out for West and that is life, but I resent the politicians who now claim "good riddance" when 5 years ago they were kissing as much butt as they possibly could.

#30 Mike K.

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Posted 12 March 2008 - 09:14 PM

Victorians have great but short memories, don't they?

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#31 Caramia

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Posted 13 March 2008 - 07:02 AM

I'm with Baro on this one. I've never worked at West but even here, on dark days there was always that knowledge at the back of my mind that if I couldn't find work doing what I love, I could always pick up some hours at West. As a safety net it was a great thing for Victoria, and honestly, the wage wasn't that bad - yes, not the job for a primary wage earner - but many people are not in that category. The way that the Victoria economy has changed in the last decade has been amazing. It is hard to imagine that we used to have huge unemployment especially for men in their prime. When I graduated high school you either left town or settled for a crappy minimum wage service sector job for which you were grateful. Most of my friends left - I settled, because I love this town. In today's labour shortage the whole thing seems surreal now, but anyone who has seen it before knows it can happen again. I'm definitely not celebrating the loss of any jobs in our city.

#32 rjag

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Posted 14 March 2008 - 06:53 AM

Times Colonist Friday March 14th

Call centre loss hurts community

Some reactions to the closure of West Corporation display a lack of understanding of the economics of business and its importance to community vitality.

The 450 employees of West represent much more than property taxes on a building. The people in those jobs are consumers and residents in communities throughout the region. The Keating Cross Road area is going to lose 450 employees who purchase products and services in that area on a daily basis. The impact of this should be of significant concern to the leadership in Central Saanich. This will cause financial hardship for many businesses and may exacerbate changes to transit schedules because ridership is reduced.

As a representative of the business community, I would encourage Central Saanich council to take steps to reach out to businesses in their community. It is those businesses that support local community events, youth sport and a variety of other community activities. The council has a responsibility to create a positive environment for all residents, including resident businesses, to ensure the region remains vibrant. The attitude of leadership toward fostering business vitality will have a direct bearing on the likelihood that another tenant will occupy the soon-to-be vacated property.

Margaret Lucas Chairwoman Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce

#33 Rob Randall

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Posted 14 March 2008 - 09:20 AM

I can't help but think the Mayor of Central Saanich must have been misquoted because I can't imagine how someone could intentionally be so incredibly thoughtless and cruel.

What sort of message does this send to industry wanting to bring needed entry-level jobs here? One day, the economy won't be so robust and we will be begging for jobs like that.

I remember not too long ago when nobody was hiring in the service industry; I couldn't even get a job washing dishes, let alone waitering one autumn over ten years ago because no restaurant was hiring and the very few ones that were had a huge number of candidates to choose from. I was on EI for two months (for the only time in my life) yet I was job hunting virtually every day. If West had come into town at that time I would have regarded it as a blessing.

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#34 spanky123

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Posted 14 March 2008 - 12:29 PM

I wonder how much Jack Mar pays his farm workers and if they get benefits.

#35 Mike K.

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Posted 14 March 2008 - 02:28 PM

But wasn't that a direct quote that was posted by CFAX? It certainly appears as though he meant what he said, but then again given the media's history of spinning statements into oblivion I'm willing to reserve judgment.

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#36 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 02 July 2008 - 11:21 PM

More Central Saanich woe:

CFAX:

CENTRAL SAANICH COULD BECOME 'ECONOMIC GHOST TOWN'

Jul 2, 2008

A LOCAL BUSINESS OWNER SAYS HE'S LOOKING FOR A MORE BUSINESS FRIENDLY ENVIRONMENT IN CENTRAL SAANICH.

RANDY SEWELL SAYS BUSINESSES LOOKING TO LOCATE OR EXPAND IN THE KEATING INDUSTRIAL PARK WILL HAVE TO LOOK ELSEWHERE BECAUSE CENTRAL SAANICH WON'T ALLOW FOR NEW LIGHT INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT.
SEWELL, WHO IS LOOKING TO EXPAND HIS BUSINESS RAVEN METAL PRODUCTS, SAYS CENTRAL SAANICH WILL BECOME AN ECONOMIC GHOST TOWN IF THE POLICY DOESN'T CHANGE. "WITH THE RISING PRICE OF LAND AND NO WHERE ELSE TO GO, THE COMPANIES THAT ARE IN HERE THAT ARE BEING FORCED TO GO SUCH AS MYSELF, NOW I NEED TO EXPAND MY BUSINESS, AND WITH NO WHERE TO EXPAND IT TO, I'M GOING TO BE LEFT GOING OUT."

THE MUNICIPALITY SAYS SEWELL WANTS AN AMENDMENT TO THE OFFICIAL COMMUNITY PLAN BECAUSE THE LAND HE WANTS TO EXPAND ON FALLS IN THE URBAN CONTAINMENT BOUNDARY.

SEWELL SAYS IT WON'T BE EASY TO EXPAND AND MOVE ELSEWHERE WITH A 0.1 PERCENT INDUSTRIAL VACANCY RATE IN CENTRAL SAANICH AND A 0.2 PERCENT VACANCY RATE REGIONALLY.

- NIKKI EWANYSHYN

Companies I have worked for have bought materials produced by Raven, it's a great little business with quality products, but I'm unsure what his expansion plans are. He's on the south side of Keating now, pretty much in the middle of the long straight stretch, just past the Co-op plaza.

#37 G-Man

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Posted 03 July 2008 - 06:27 AM

Dig up some of the parking.

#38 Phil McAvity

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Posted 03 July 2008 - 09:43 AM

Nparker, give your head a shake and tell me what you hear.

Years ago I found myself out of work and West gave me a chance, a chance I sorely wanted and needed. It really helped me get back on my feet even though I was only there for a few months. I got back into work mode when I was feeling pretty dejected so it really helped me. This notion of a "living wage" though means there will be a lot less businesses that will set up shop here if they have to pay that because companies either can't or won't be able to pay that much and obviously with less businesses here you have less employment. Companies will only go where they can make money and if they are forced to pay a "living wage", they will go elsewhere. Why do you think there are already so many call centers in places like India now? Because companies like West can pay the workers peanuts (by Canadian standards) and still have people lined up to work there. I don't think a lot of people in India are whining about a "living wage" when they weren't working at all before West hit town. When I worked there years ago, most of the employees I saw there were not the demographic that you seem to think dominates West (the main breadwinner with dependants) anyway. What's more, if you are trying to support a family from working at West, you probably made some major mistakes in your life. Most people I saw were younger and just what G-Man described, emos and goths that would probably have a hard time getting a job elsewhere. I absolutely believe that West shot itself in the foot by operating out of Central Saanich though. The main thing I hated was the commute and with gas being so expensive these days, they probably couldn't pay the employees enough to work way out there. The one upside to all of this is that the economy is really strong right now so I expect most of those people will find employment elsewhere.

That mayor of Central Saanich must have gotten his job by acclamation. :confused:

#39 Nparker

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Posted 03 July 2008 - 10:28 AM

Nparker, give your head a shake and tell me what you hear.


Thank you for the timely response to my post. I stand firm. West paid crap wages, but then again so do many employers in the region, especially in the service industry. The difference is that people who work in the service industry generally have the opportunity to make tips. Staff at West are not so lucky. I trust a few thousand under-employed people in India will be happy for the work though.

#40 Holden West

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Posted 03 July 2008 - 10:43 AM

West's pay rate was very competitive and generous for entry-level work. Newsflash for you: pumping gas and washing dishes doesn't pay $50,000 a year either.

I am stunned to learn that we live in an age when several dollars above minimum wage for entry level work is deemed unworthy.

In your world does everyone get paid $50,000 a year regardless of experience, education and ability? Explain yourself (although every point you made has already been exquisitely and definitively refuted).
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