Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

TEARS FLOW OVER GARLANDS; Staff Shocked by Closure of Call Centres

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

TEARS FLOW OVER GARLANDS; Staff Shocked by Closure of Call Centres

Article excerpt

Byline: JOHN SUTTON

AS STAFF from Garlands Middlesbrough poured out onto Albert Road, the shock of the closedown was just sinking in.

People hugged goodbye to colleagues they'd known for years after boss Chey Garland's tearful 15-minute announcement over the staff radio.

"It's just sinking in now, we only got told 20 minutes ago -I'm more shocked than anything else at the moment," said customer service advisor Andy Young The 27-year-old from Skelton, who said he earned about pounds 800 per month at Garlands, added "We don't know if we're getting paid or getting redundancy or anything like that for the minute," Other staff told the Evening Gazette about the radio announcement, made simultaneously to staff at Middlesbrough, Stockton, Hartlepool and South Shields -more than 1,000 employees in total.

"Chey was crying herself -it's a real shame, because there was a good atmosphere here, I liked working here," said 24-year-old Amanda Simpson, who has worked at the centre for three years.

Amanda works on a contract that is understood not to have been cut and will still be in work, but this involves just a couple of dozen staff.

Most walked out yesterday afternoon and put their security passes and headsets into boxes by the front door as they left for the last time.

Paul Tamblingson, 31, works as a sales advisor and has been with Garlands for five-and-a-half years.

"Me and my girlfriend both work here. She works on one of the contracts that is carrying on for a few weeks, but when that's gone, how will we pay the mortgage?" said Paul, who lives in Linthorpe.

Administrators from PricewaterhouseCoopers were on hand to talk to staff after the announcement, but many chose to go for a drink with colleagues to mull over what happens next.

A mum-of three said: "I mean, how are we even supposed to get references now if they are in administration.

"There is a shortage of jobs around here as it is, and Garlands were very good with family-friendly working hours -it's going to be hard to get that elsewhere."

For others, redundancy has become an unfortunately familiar occurrence. …

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