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Shaw call centre expansion affects 1,000 Calgary workers

About 1,000 workers at Shaw's Calgary call centre will be affected by a national customer service reorganization, the media company announced Wednesday.

Chethan Lakshman, Shaw's vice-president of external affairs, said the move will consolidate call centre operations across Canada.

"It's an expansion of our call centres in Victoria, Vancouver, Winnipeg and Montreal," he said. "About 1,600 people from our Calgary, Edmonton and Kelowna operations -- their roles will be relocated to those centres."

Affected employees will be offered a $7,500 assistance package to relocate to these new centres. Those not wishing to move can apply for open positions in their current location, or accept severance packages.

The move will affect 1,000 workers in Calgary, 390 in Edmonton and 145 in Kelowna.

Three-hundred and fifty outbound call centre jobs in Kelowna will not be affected.

Lakshman said the move is part of a corporate-wide retooling of Shaw's customer service program.

"It was an examination over the past year of looking at our customer care operations, and our evolution from a regional cable company to a national company that serves customers across the country," he said.

While Calgary's call centre will close in January 2016, Edmonton's location will shut down this summer.

The move is not a layoff, nor is it an effort to move customer service jobs off-shore, Lakshman said.

"We are very clearly committed to ensuring customer service remains in Canada," he said.

Many Canadian companies have closed down their Canadian call centres in favour of cheaper customer contact options based in India and the Philippines.

Shaw posted a $227 million profit for the quarter ending Nov. 30, 2014.

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