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BTC prepares for new hires

In the midst of a massive downsizing exercise, the Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC) is preparing to hire nearly 39 people, the first recruitment exercise in what is expected to be an ongoing process, The Nassau Guardian has learned.

The recruitment exercise was outlined in a recent staff memo from BTC’s CEO Geoff Houston.

“In order to maintain momentum and equip the business with the resources it needs, and ahead of completing the final organization structures going forward, I have approved the recruitment of the first 39 jobs,” said the memo.

“These will be posted in the next few days beginning with a number of roles in the finance division.  We also expect to search externally within The Bahamas for some roles, but our objective as far as possible is to give our colleagues within the business the first opportunity.  This will be the beginning of a recruitment process that will take many weeks to complete.”

Vice President of Sales and Marketing for BTC Marlon Johnson told The Guardian yesterday that the recruitment process has not officially started as yet.

Johnson declined to give a specific date as to when the process will begin.  However, he said it will be “some time in the near future.”

“As needs are defined in the company we will recruit additional persons.  It will be on an ‘as needs’ basis just like any other company,” Johnson added.

Over the past several months, more than 200 employees have received voluntary separation packages (VSEP).

In September, about 50 people left the company and 162 left in July.

In total, 602 BTC employees applied for the VSEP, though BTC only wanted to reduce its staff by 30 percent — which is about 400 people.

BTC is attempting to reduce costs, conforming with industry standards in anticipation of the full liberalization of the telecommunications sector in The Bahamas.

Houston told reporters last month that BTC is planning to create many full-time jobs within the next few months, as it expands its retail and customer service operations throughout the country.

“We would expect over the coming weeks to begin actively recruiting new people into the business,” said Houston.

“These will be people that we will directly employ.”

BTC is planning to roll out at least 50 new stores over the next two years.  Houston expects these stores will create hundreds of much-needed jobs for Bahamians.

“We do believe as we roll out more retail stores that indirectly we’re going to create new employment opportunities for Bahamians and local entrepreneurs.  I would think that [those] will be in the multiple hundreds,” he said.

In the company memo, Houston also advised that over the next few weeks he will be working with the executives to complete the post-VSEP structures.

At the same time, he said BTC is working with the BTC unions to address outstanding reclassification items, and acknowledged increased responsibilities for many employees post-VSEP.

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