PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad – The state-owned Telecommunications Services of Trinidad and Tobago (TSTT) has denied reports that it intends to dismiss thousands of workers as part of a restructuring exercise.
In a statement, the company described as “fabricated sensationalism” media reports that it is to be renamed and thousands of employees would be sent home.
“The information circulating that the organisation is embarking on a massive retrenchment exercise is fabricated sensationalism. TSTT has no intention of “planning a new company and firing all workers,’” the statement said.
The company said that it had held its quarterly management forum last Friday, but that “at no time was management advised that they would either lose their jobs or need to reapply for any jobs that currently exist within the organisation”.
The statement said the 2,091 workers including 158 temporary staff have never been told the company will be renamed nor that 2.000 employees or any specific number of employees will lose their jobs as part of a restructuring exercise.
TSTT said that it would undertake a skills assessment to ensure employees have the right tools and training to move into the new direction of an “agile broadband communications company,” adding that no decision affecting staff would be made without involving the company’s recognised majority unions.
Over the last weekend, the Communications Workers Union (CWU) said that as many as 2,000 employees of the telecommunication company would be dismissed as TSTT rebrands itself.
CWU president Clyde Elder was quoted in the media as saying that the union was aware of the move and likened the situation to the state-owned oil company, PETROTRIN, where thousands of workers are being sent home as the loss making company shuts down.
““This is just like PETROTRIN but in reverse. Almost 2,000 workers could be affected and lose their jobs,” Elder told the Sunday Guardian newspaper.
He said that the workers had been told that all residential fibre optic customers would be transferred to the new TSTT company, Amplia and that the union has not yet received a response form the company for an urgent meeting to discuss the matter.
“The company is trying to tell the workers that the union is aware and the union sanctioned the move but that is not true at all. Knowing and agreeing is two different things,” he told the newspaper.
In its statement, TSTT said that in 2016 it embarked on a strategic direction to ensure that the organisation remains relevant and survives the ongoing digital disruption and demands of the telecommunications industry which is affecting both local and international telecommunication companies.
It said as part of its strategic approach, TSTT is focusing on its Zero Copper Initiative which was recently launched on September 28, as well as investments in other network and technology upgrades to ensure that the company provides the best solutions to meet and exceed customer expectations.
TSTT also said it is committed to active dialogue with all stakeholders including the CWU on all relevant matters pertaining to the business and staff.
“The contribution of employees is critical to a successful organisation and absolutely no decision on matters affecting staff will be made without the involvement of stakeholders,” TSTT said, adding that it recognises its role “as a leader in ensuring that accurate and credible information is shared in the public space” and that it remains dedicated to its mandate to provide quality service to its customers and to the people of the Trinidad and Tobago. – CMC