Several areas of operation of telecommunications provider, LIME, were affected this week, as “quite a few” of its employees called in sick.
Manager of LIME, Leslie Jack, told I-Witness News that the firm has contracted Ericson to manage the service delivery side of the business.
This takes effect mid-February, but the transition has already taken places and Ericson has rehired 99 per cent of the service delivery staff and will be hiring more people, Jack said.
“So, in effect, they will be hiring more people than we had initially allocated to that side of the business,” Jack told I-Witness News on Thursday, adding that the company will need personnel in finance and other areas.
Jack also read a prepared statement that was to be issued to the media, saying in part, “Cable and Wireless/LIME and the Commercial Technical and Allied Workers Union are currently negotiating for a new collective agreement.”
He said the first meeting was held on Tuesday and discussions are on-going.
“As we are aware, there has not been a breakdown in negotiations and therefore we consider the current impasse or industrial actions that we are currently experiencing to be extremely premature, as our deliberations, as stated previously, have yet to be concluded,” the statement further said.
The statement said LIME has maintained good relationship with the union and has always worked with them “in an amicable, fair and transparent manner.
“We are confident that we will be able to resolve any differences that we may have, so that we could return quickly to a normal state of operation for the benefit of all stakeholders,” the statement continued.
Jack said that 99 per cent of the staff — some 23 persons — have accepted the offer, but others called in sick this week.
“Quite a few people who called in sick from varying departments,” he said.
But a source familiar with the development disputed Jack’s version, saying that the staff was striking because they have not had a salary increase for the past three years.
The source said that the union proposed 7-7-6 — seven per cent increase each for 2011 and 2012, and 6 per cent for 2013.
“LIME said 0-0-0,” the source said.
The source said that the persons who have accepted Ericson’s offer will be transferred next week Friday.
However, if the change over takes place before an agreement is reached, their severance package will be less, the source said.
The source further said that the remaining 1 per cent will have less negotiating power, because of their fewer numbers.
Therefore, the staff who have accepted the Ericson package do not want their new employment status to comment before they have completed the salary increase negotiations with LIME, the source said.
Jack said that Ericson will now manage LIME’s mobile and fixed network, all the fixed installation, and fault restoration.
Meanwhile, Jack said that the interruption of LIME’s Internet service to some customer did not result from the industrial action.
He said the company has been doing phased upgrades to its network over the past four months.
Last week, the company migrated a particular area that has a lot more ADSL customers, and had quite a few customers having “issues”, Jack said.
LIME is working to resolve the situation, Jack told I-Witness News.