Telecel workers down tools as firm’s operational troubles mount

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By Alois Vinga

WORKERS at the country’s smallest mobile telecommunications service provider, Telecel Zimbabwe Monday downed tools in protest over network inefficiency, coupled with poor resourcing within the troubled entity.

The industrial action becomes the first incident of that magnitude within the country’s communications sector in recent times.

Speaking to Business, Communications and Allied Workers Union of Zimbabwe secretary general, David Mhambare said the firm’s employees have reached a point where their work has been hampered by critical shortages of raw material.

“This industrial action does not have anything to do with workers’ salaries despite the fact that they are the least paid in the sector. What we are simply crying for are resources to use in our day to day work because shortages have reached alarming levels,” he said.

He further revealed that the company’s key software has not been updated and since January this year, no receipts have been issued.

Most transactions are being carried out on a manual basis while technicians do not have any fuel to carry out their business.

“As we speak, Telecel’s network coverage is not exceeding 15 % with areas such as Masvingo, Beitbridge, Chinhoyi and Nkayi going without any signal. Most Telecel offices are not even relying on their own networks to conduct business as they have to use other service providers like Econet and NetOne,” Mhambare said.

Telecel Zimbabwe’s chief executive officer, Angeline Vere could not be reached for comment.

The latest developments comes at a time the company has found operational problems mount to a point of threatening the viability of the mobile services provider.

Last year, the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) reported Telecel’s subscribers went down from 1.080. 606 to 1.027.445 registering a 4.9 % decline in the second quarter of 2019.

This is despite the fact that Econet and NetOne subscriber bases grew 1.3% and 6.1% respectively.

Telecel was the only mobile operator to record a decline in active subscriptions.

It is believed that the Telecel board is unhappy with Vere’s performance especially her failure to put together a recovery plan to salvage the nation’s third largest mobile operator after years of below par performance.