TelOne lays off 184 digitally-handicapped workers


By Kudzai Kuwaza

State-owned telecommunications company, TelOne, has retrenched more than 180 workers whose qualifications it says did not meet the standard for its evolution into the digital world.

In a statement, TelOne spokesperson Melody Harry said the retrenchment exercise had been necessitated by lack of requisite qualifications on the part of  the affected staff as the company embarks on digitalisation drive.

“The TelOne digital transformation journey, which has special focus on client experience enhancement and provision of new products and services, entails the digitalisation of the company’s operations and systems through network upgrade and modernisation,” Harry said.

“For this drive to succeed, relevant skills and qualifications emerged as one of the main priorities.

“Consequently, the company has taken a position to embark on a realignment programme to terminate the contracts of 184 individuals whose skills set has been rendered redundant as they are no longer compatible with the digitalisation demands in the market and the general global technological trends through a compulsory retrenchment exercise.”

She said the retrenchment exercise, which began last month, was expected to be finalised by April 30.

Harry said as the need for new skills became apparent, TelOne management reminded staff from 2015 of the need to further their education and develop themselves to meet the new requirements.

The firm then extended opportunities to employees with more than five Ordinary-Level subjects 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 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,” Harry said.

“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.”

Harry pointed out that prior to the compulsory retrenchment, all the affected staff members had been engaged and offered a voluntary exit package which they turned down.

“Further, TelOne has followed all the necessary procedures for this compulsory retrenchment exercise including the engagement of stakeholders such as industry trade unions and TelOne workers’ committee.

In doing so, TelOne complied with the requirements of Labour Act Chapter 28:01,” she said.