Trinidad telecoms sending home 700

(Trinidad Guardian) At the end of their re­struc­tur­ing process, the Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions Ser­vice of T&T (TSTT) in­tends to send home 700 em­ploy­ees said Ronald Wal­cott, TSTT’s CEO.

Next on the chop­ping block is non-unionised em­ploy­ees and mem­bers of man­age­ment, he said in a pre­vi­ous state­ment.

“This is a phase of a process of trans­for­ma­tion. We start­ed this ex­er­cise in 2016. When I took over in 2014 I in­di­cat­ed to every­one at that point in time that we have some fun­da­men­tal chal­lenges be­cause we are con­struct­ed in a lega­cy way and the telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion in­dus­try is chang­ing rapid­ly. If we do not trans­form our­selves we will be­come ir­rel­e­vant, in­sol­vent and con­tin­ue to be a source of con­cern. That was the ear­ly mes­sage,” he said.

Ronald Walcott

Wal­cott spoke with CNC3 re­porter Judy Kan­hai on Fri­day at TSTT’s House, Port-of-Spain.

On Thurs­day, 503 TSTT em­ploy­ees were served let­ters of ter­mi­na­tion.

He said in 2016 they de­vel­oped a five-year plan that said that they would evolve their tech­nol­o­gy, look for new lines of rev­enue, im­prove ser­vice de­liv­ery and em­ploy­ee cost had to be ad­just­ed.

“Our em­ploy­ee cost is 30 per cent of rev­enue, twice the in­dus­try stan­dard some­times more than that and our ef­fi­cien­cy is half of the in­dus­try stan­dard. This is this phase of a greater strate­gic plan that was a $4 bil­lion un­der­tak­ing that we start­ed in 2015.”

He said when he start­ed in TSTT 12 years ago, em­ploy­ee cost was one of the first con­ver­sa­tions he had.

When asked why it took so long to deal with high em­ploy­ee costs, he said sys­tems have to be put in place to deal with it.

“If you are go­ing to move to­ward dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion, you have to put the au­toma­tion in place. What will hap­pen is if you re­move peo­ple but still have man­u­al process­es, then you will still need some­one to do the process­es. Our cus­tomers must al­ways be first.”

Be­fore send­ing home the 503 em­ploy­ees on Thurs­day they had rough­ly 2,000 em­ploy­ees on staff.

“We start­ed in 2013 with 2,500. We had a vol­un­tary sep­a­ra­tion ex­er­cise in 2014, then down to 2,000. We want to get to where we should be at around 1,300 em­ploy­ees.”

He al­so spoke about why they have post­ed fi­nan­cial loss­es in re­cent times.

“One of the is­sues we had with the first six months of 2018 just con­clud­ed is there is a new fi­nan­cial re­port­ing stan­dard RFS 9 and this has a spe­cif­ic way in which you have to treat with debt. We have some ex­ist­ing Gov­ern­ment debt that we had to im­pair which we would not have nor­mal­ly done in the nor­mal course of busi­ness. Out­side of that, the chal­lenge that we have is em­ploy­ee cost.”

He said peo­ple us­ing so­cial me­dia has re­duced the tra­di­tion­al rev­enue they used to get from over­seas calls and oth­er tra­di­tion­al ways of com­mu­ni­ca­tion.

On the en­ter­tain­ment side, he said where­as in the past peo­ple had ca­ble tv now they use Net­flix and oth­er lat­est trends.

“This is just the re­al­i­ty. We saw where every­thing is dri­ven by broad­band. We are re­mov­ing cop­per and re­plac­ing it with the wire­less net­work and will go to 5G. Our vi­sion is every house­hold in T&T will have broad­band and this will bring rev­enue.”

He added: “Our em­ploy­ee cost and get­ting that in line will take us out of the red im­me­di­ate­ly.”


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