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News : BTC Job Loss Fears on Saving Plan
Bahamas, Nov 6, 2015 -- Fears of further job losses at the Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC) were raised due to the planned imposition of a new "centralised" business model, which will help its controlling shareholder realise a further cost saving.
Bernard Evans told Tribune Business that he would warn Bahamas Communications and Public Officers Union (BCPOU) members that "the road looks rough for 2016 and beyond", after this newspaper informed him of Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC) plans.
Senior executives at BTC’s controlling shareholder, in unveiling their 2015-2016 half-year results yesterday, expressed delight that potential group-wide cost synergies had increased over original estimates.
CWC’s forecast ‘cost synergy’ savings, will come from the imposition of its new ‘centralised’ business model on both its Panama and Bahamas (BTC) businesses.
Slides accompanying CWC’s results presentation described the new business model as "centralisation of core back office functions and increased focus of in-market resources on commercial activities, focused on Panama and the Bahamas".
CWC appears focused on Panama first before turning its attention to the Bahamas, but if what has happened in the Central American nation is any indication, BTC and the BCPOU line staff union need to brace for further redundancies.
CWC’s results presentation showed that a significant savings was achieved in the six months to end-October 2015 by reducing Panama staffing levels by 110. And a further savings is set to be gained there by the April year-end as a result of a further 140 job cuts.
Perley McBride, CWC’s chief financial officer, told analysts at the results conference call that the "roll out of the new model to Panama and the Bahamas should result in further savings".
BTC’s staffing levels have dropped by 8 per cent year-over-year as a result, and now stand at 719 compared to 785 in 2014, suggesting that 66 persons have left the incumbent carrier.
Mr McBride’s comments, coupled with CWC’s plans, not surprisingly did not sit well with BCPOU president Mr Evans, given that they imply further job cuts and uncertainty for BTC staff and union members.
The ‘centralised’ business model appears to suggest a consolidation and outsourcing of functions to CWC regional centres, and Mr Evans said there would soon come a time when the Government - as the other BTC shareholder - would have to tell its partner: "Enough is enough".
CWC seem likely to start implementing the ‘new business model’ on BTC in the 2016-2017 finanacial year, which starts next April.
"We are mindful, and we are very, very concerned," Mr Evans told Tribune Business. "We have to be concerned.
The union chief said there would soon come a time when the Government has "to look out for the self-preservation and way of life of the people", and block further moves to take jobs away from Bahamians to other countries.
"Somewhere along the line, the Government has to say: ‘Enough. You’ve done enough. We can’t let you take more jobs from here’," Mr Evans told Tribune Business.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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About Bahamas Telecommunications Company:
BTC is the primary telecommunications provider for the Bahamas, headquartered in Nassau, New Providence. It is partly government owned and offers telephone, internet and wireless services.
Published: Monday, November 9, 2015