First group of employees leave BTC
One hundred and sixty-two employees who received voluntary separation packages (VSEP) spent their last day at the Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC) yesterday.
The number was confirmed by officials of BTC’s unions who said the group included 16 managers and 146 line staffers.
According to the union officials, BTC has so far rejected the applications of nearly 50 employees who signed up for the VSEPs.
As previously reported, the VSEP exercise was oversubscribed by about 200.
In total, 602 BTC employees applied for the separation packages. However, BTC only wanted to reduce its staff by 30 percent — which is about 400 people.
According to Bahamas Communications and Public Officers Union (BCPOU) president Bernard Evans, the applications of 40 of his members were rejected.
Eight or nine managers’ applications were rejected, according to Bahamas Communications and Public Managers Union (BCPMU) president William Carroll.
Evans said the unions expect to receive information next week detailing who will stay and who will go.
The employees who will next be separated from the company are expected to receive their letters by Wednesday, Evans added.
Carroll said the managers who left yesterday experienced mixed emotions.
“Some are excited and some are still sad about leaving so many of their friends behind. They were here for a long time and there’s a lot of mixed emotions,” he said, adding that some of them have been with BTC for nearly 40 years.
Carroll said some of his members whose applications have been refused are adamant about leaving while others have agreed to stay on.
When asked about the VSEP exercise, BTC’s vice president of sales and marketing Marlon Johnson said the company is not going to comment on the matter in detail.
“As the company’s restructuring takes place we will certainly be providing some more information as to what is happening with the voluntary separation package,” he said.
“But what we’re trying to get the community to understand is that this is a private company now…As we’ve said already, the process [has started in a tangible way] with the first group of persons leaving, but outside of that we won’t provide any commentary on VSEP.
“And that also protects the workers; as you guys can probably figure out we have to protect the workers.
“There are people out there who figure that these people are walking out with a bag of cash and will target them so you have to understand there are some real reasons why we don’t have to provide commentary on it.”
BTC is attempting to reduce costs, conforming with industry standards in anticipation of the full liberalization of the telecommunications sector in The Bahamas, company officials have said.