TelOne to retrench 184 underqualified staff

The underperforming government owned telecoms company TelOne is set to retrench close to 500 underqualified staff members who are said to be holders of grade 7 certificates as their highest academic qualifications, Zim Morning Post has heard.

Documents seen by Zim Morning Post show that about 184 employees have already received termination notices as the company restructures its workforce.

Insiders said letters were dispatched to those who have been identified.

“Letters have been sent to 184 employees countrywide,” opined the source.

“The first batch targeted those who have no secondary education.”

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Documents gleaned reveal that of the 184 letters dispatched only 20 employees are protesting and have since approached the utility’ works council.

The documents also show that out of 184 people 11 are holders of the Zimbabwe Junior Certificate (ZJC) while two employees hold one ordinary level subject each.

Sources also said the retrenchment board was notified and urged TelOne to stick to the statutory requirement in coming up with packages.

“This is a board resolution meant to turn around TelOne by bringing in fresh people with technical expertise so that the company can compete with other telecoms companies such as Econet.

Another source said “although the decision is good in terms of turning around the company we fear lack of political will to execute the retrenchments.”

Although employees are protesting retrenchment insiders said their package consists of bonus calculated to their grade, leave days, relocations expenses, retrenchment package calculated as one month salary per every year served and a notice pay of three months.

Among other benefits are telephone benefit and long term service bonus for those with 20 years and above.

However, employees still believe the package is not what they expected after serving the company for years.

TelOne management argues that the employees were given a two-year grace period to advance their qualifications but failed to do that.

“A notification of inadequate qualifications was sent to employees on 12 February 2016.

“They were to upgrade themselves and acquire at least five ordinary levels but only nine employees managed to do that.

Contacted for a comment TelOne Corporate manager Melody Harry said, in a statement:

“In preparation for this and to give these individuals an opportunity to upgrade, the following steps were taken;

• As the skills need became apparent with the NBB network modernisation projects, TelOne management requested staff from 2015 on the need to further their education and develop themselves to meet the new requirements.

• The company extended opportunities to employees with more than Five Ordinary levels to take up different courses through the TelOne Centre for Learning.

A total number of 422 employees did not take heed of this call to develop themselves at one point making it a subject of interest during a Parliamentary debate.”

“However, from that total, the 184 individuals who have been put up for compulsory retrenchment hold the Zimbabwe Junior School (ZJC) and Grade 7 as highest educational qualifications.

“A new window of opportunity for the remaining 238 has been created for them to upgrade their skills. Specifically, the TelOne Centre for Learning has facilities that the company has created to be able to offer up to date skills which can improve individual capacities and the company’s competitiveness.”