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Guyana Telephone and Telegraph sends home several workers

The Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company (GT&T) on Tuesday dismissed several workers, as part of the streamlining of the company’s operations, according to Chief Executive Officer, Radha Krishna Sharma.

He said four of the staff members were from the Sales and Marketing Department and one was a Secretary to an official who is no longer with the company. “They have had a restructuring of the Sales and Marketing Department,” he said.

Asked if there would be more staff cuts in the coming months, he said there were no specific plans but the company would examine ways of improving efficiency and effectiveness to respond to market dynamics.

Sharma said the decision to send home the employees with all legally due benefits was part of a restructuring plan in an increasingly competitive environment. “As you know, this market is very dynamic and we had to refocus on how business is done. We have got to be much, much more responsive to all the changes that are taking place so there was some re-adjustment made to staff,” he said.

The CEO said that as part of preparations for a much more liberalized environment the phone and data provider needs to examine the way in which it does business. “We would want to see this company much more customer-centric, more responsive to the changes and the dynamics so we have got to be much, more active in certain areas that we may not have been active as before,” he said.

Sharma said the dismissal of the workers marked a realignment of skills in the critical area of Sales and Marketing.  “It’s not to do with numbers but having the right fit as it relates to a changing environment,” he said.

The phone company has in the past expressed concern and complained to the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) about increasing competition from Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) calling systems as well as other messenger applications that do not require subscribers to use its landline services for international calls.

Termination of the workers’ employment also comes as Guyana continues the long wait for legal liberalization of the telecommunications sector, a process that has been held up by the National Assembly for several years now.

With impending general and regional elections, the telecom laws are now expected to be returned to House some time after June 2015.