Wednesday, January 18, 2012

(LUSAKATIMES) ZAMTEL workers and union were made to believe company was sinking

ZAMTEL workers and union were made to believe company was sinking
TIME PUBLISHED - Wednesday, January 18, 2012, 9:09 am

THE National Union of Communication Workers (NUCW) and general workforce at Zamtel were made to believe that the telecommunication firm was fast headed for collapse and that employees would all lose their jobs, the Sebastian Zulu-Commission of Inquiry report says.

The report indicates that the decision to sell Zamtel was imposed on the union and the general workforce.

Former NUCW general Secretary, Clement Kasonde, had told the commission in his submission during the commission sittings that former Transport and Communications minister, Dora Siliya, threatened that no one was to frustrate the sale of Zamtel.

The union was not accorded an opportunity to sit on the committee that considered the sale of Zamtel contrary to the Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) Act number 11 of 2008.

Mr Kasonde had noted that the NUCW was not afforded an opportunity from pre qualification up to the final selections of the bidding process and did not sit on any of the privatisation committees as representatives of the workers.

“The sale of Zamtel was forced and imposed on the union, workers of Zamtel and the people of Zambia by the former MMD government,” he said in his submission contained in the report compiled by the commission of inquiry tasked to probe the sale of Zamtel to Lap Green Networks.

Mr Kasonde said former Zamtel Managing director, Mukela Muyunda and Ms Siliya created an impression that if Zamtel did not find a strategic equity partner, the company would collapse and the workers would lose what they had worked for.

Mr Kasonde said the MMD government through its agents did not act responsibly and never inspired hope other than inducing unreasonable fear in the minds of the workers.

Mr Kasonde who worked for Zamtel for 20 years, said he had difficulties to see what additional value the new Lap Green management had pumped into the company.

He said ever since the new management took control of management, it had only concentrated so much on the mobile side in the branding and marketing strategies.

“However, on the PSTN side, which has been the traditional demand product for Zamtel for a long time, LAP Green/Zamtel has completely failed despite being the only company with exclusive monopoly,” he said.

He said the performance of fixed line telecommunication facilities has become the worst ever and that this is typical of LAP Green as the story is the same in Uganda where the company also operates.

At another meeting with the workers in Ndola, Ms Siliya explained that Zamtel was a loss-making company and the only way to salvage it was “to go the Zanaco way by privatising it”.

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