The telecom industry in Uganda has in the past month not been a bed of roses especially when it comes to the fate of workers. With Warid employees still on tension, this time its the local UTL employees who could suffer a similar fate. The intel suggests that at least 100 local employees of Rwenzori based telco have declined an offer of voluntary retirement citing unfairness by senior management.
David J. Holliday, UTL’s managing director (MD) wrote a memo to the Ugandan employees asking them to apply for redundancy and get paid off. He said the firm has over the past two years faced many financial disputes including the freezing of assets of LAP-Green, the majority shareholder, in 2011. LAP-Green is a Libyan state enterprise.
“The new board and management have since embarked on a turnaround of UTL to restore it to being a modern, efficient and powerful force in telecoms in Uganda.” says David J. Holliday. According to the Daily monitor, UTL is indebted to equipment vendors, suppliers and banks to the tune of US
$70million (about Shs182 billion).
Due to the company’s huge debt, management has taken the decision to downsize its staff as part of cost-cutting measures. But the staffers said the organization was paying sizable packages to foreign experts yet the local employees are the ones in the cross hairs for layoff.
The local board, headed by Dr Ben Mbonye, sat on Monday to discuss among others, the fate of the staff. Rwanda and Zambia took over the management of LAP-Green run telecom firms citing failure to invest in the sector and the troubles that arose from the fall of former Libyan leader Muammar Gadaffi.