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Dell's tightened belt garottes Canada

'Dell Day' canceled this year

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Dell is closing its call center in Edmonton, Canada this spring, after less than four years of operation. The move is expected to put more than 900 people out of work.

The closure follows news of an unspecified number of job cuts at Dell's Ottawa call center. Dell also scrapped plans to open a second facility in Ottawa, which would expand its Canadian workforce by an additional 1,200 employees. The newly constructed 150,000-square-foot building, scheduled to open in April, will remain empty until Dell decides what to do with it.

Since Michael Dell's return as head of the company, the world's second largest PC maker has seen significant belt-tightening to increase profitability. In November 2006, Dell announced a company-wide plan to eliminate 10 per cent of its worldwide workforce (more than 8,000 jobs).

Since the decimation began in May, Dell has slashed tech support jobs in Tennessee, Texas and Oregon. The Canadian Press reports that in May, the company said it would not cut jobs in Ottawa.

Things were looking better for the facility in 2007. Ottawa mayor Larry O'Brien proclaimed March 29 "Dell Day" in Ottawa — a holiday unlikely to be renewed for the new year.

"Dell's success here in Ottawa has been nothing short of phenomenal," said the site leader Michael Jaillet in March of 2007. "By early 2008, Dell expects to be the third-largest high-tech employer in the city."

A subsequent fall in the US dollar made the Round Rock, Texas-based company a little less cheerful about its Canadian operations.

Dell has also recently closed its US store kiosks, as the company looks more towards channel partners in addition to its direct sales model. Dell claims the kiosks in Canada and Asia are to remain open. But we've heard that one before. ®

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