The Communication Workers Union has been alerting the public as well as employees of the retrenchment of up to 600 workers at the Telecommunication Services of Trinidad and Tobago as part of a restructuring exercise, and now the truth comes to light.
TSTT has finally admitted that restructuring must now take place and has invited the union to consultations regarding a “proposed refinement” of its operating/business model. In a statement on Monday, TSTT said that this is their only option if they are to return to profitability.
TSTT explained that increased consumer adoption of digital applications like WhatsApp and communications platforms like Zoom has seen the steady erosion of traditional voice revenue.
In addition, the legacy costs associated with redundant technology in its existing operating structure continue to have a crippling impact on TSTT’s business and its results and in 2021, TSTT’s revenue fell by TT$453 million. In addition, the company said that fixed voiced calling in terms of minutes and calls have declined by 50 percent over the past 10 years and mobile voice calls have declined by 20 percent in the same period according to the annual Telecommunications Authority of Trinidad and Tobago’s market reports.
PSA media spoke with Secretary-General of the Communication Workers Union Clyde Elder on Tuesday who told us that the company should instead source funding to invest into the company in order for it to be viable.
“We suspect that It is going to involve nearly about five or six hundred workers but it is unfortunate that the company has chosen to go and get financing to send home workers again rather than get financing to do things that is going to ensure the viability of the company such as investing in plant and equipment and machinery and tools and staff etc,” he explained.
He said that this is something that was always in the works and not as a result of the pandemic or any loss in revenue while adding that he does not expect much from consultations with Ms. Agard.
Elder said, “She’s going to do her best to sell us this idea that the company is in a bad state and that they need to send home people in order to survive and that’s about it. At the end of the day, I don’t see the company doing anything that is really and truly going to benefit not just the workers but citizens in Trinidad and Tobago.”
When asked about the effects of workers in Tobago who were not affected by TSTT’s last restructuring exercise, Elder said that the union believes that TSTT Tobago will be decimated.
Less than 2 months ago, Mr. Elder in a Facebook live video again warned of a restructuring exercise as he said many employees who were not members of the union would have already received termination letters. The company quickly denied the allegations and said that they will continue taking steps to address the cost and revenue challenges.