StarTek to lay off 33 workers

120 more jobs may be gone within a year, company says

The StarTek call center on North Avenue told 33 of its workers Thursday they would be laid off as of Aug. 31.

But while the Denver-based company isn’t closing the facility just yet, it may gradually let go of the remaining 120 employees there over the next 11 months, company officials said.

Those officials declined to elaborate publicly about the layoffs, releasing instead a terse statement from Andy Rangel, senior director of operations:

“The employee layoffs will be done gradually and extend through the second quarter of next year,” he said. “The decision to move the line of business was made by our client, and was not based on our performance, but a change in business strategy. They will continue to work with StarTek and remain a valued client.”

The company declined to name that client, although its latest financial report to the Securities and Exchange Commission said it has lost a significant amount of work from “a large wireless client.”

The move is not expected to impact the company’s other Grand Junction facility on south Seventh Street, which employs about 400 workers, spokeswoman Rosemary Hanratty said.

The company recently laid off 82 workers at its Greeley facility, a year after hiring 110 workers at that same site.

Hanratty said the company has not made a firm decision to close the North Avenue facility, saying anything can happen during that time.

“There’s lots of things that could happen over 11 months,” she said.

The company is to provide job-search training for the laid-off workers, and it invited them to apply for positions at other StarTek facilities.

Currently, the company has one job opening at its second Grand Junction office as a customer-service representative, four jobs at its Greeley facility and 10 openings at its Denver headquarters, but most of those are for specialized positions or for senior workers, such as a national sales manager.

Company-wide, it has 56 openings, but nearly half of those are located out of the country, according to StarTek’s website.

The company operates 10 call centers around the nation, one in Costa Rica, two in the Philippines and three in Canada.

In May, the company reported to the SEC it had first-quarter revenues of $67.4 million, a 7 percent decrease from the fourth quarter of 2009.

The company reported it cut expenses to $10.9 million during the first quarter of the year, down from $11.9 million in the last quarter of 2009. That decline was attributed primarily to a decrease in payroll and “other discretionary expenses.”

During the first quarter this year, the company opened a 440-worker facility in Costa Rica and opened its second Philippines plant. At the same time, it closed plants in Texas, Wyoming and Ontario.


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