Rwandatel earmarks Rfw 180m for sacked workers

KIGALI - The dispute between Rwandatel and its former employees has ended with the company agreeing to pay Rfw 188 million as compensation. The Head of the Parliamentary Committee on Petitions, Francois Byabarumwanzi, told lawmakers that the employees had originally filed a petition with the Lower Chamber of Parliament seeking arbitration in what they termed as “unlawful dismissal.”
 MP Francois Byabarumwanzi
MP Francois Byabarumwanzi

KIGALI - The dispute between Rwandatel and its former employees has ended with the company agreeing to pay Rfw 188 million as compensation.

The Head of the Parliamentary Committee on Petitions, Francois Byabarumwanzi, told lawmakers that the employees had originally filed a petition with the Lower Chamber of Parliament seeking arbitration in what they termed as “unlawful dismissal.”

“The committee invited the former Rwandatel staff  who were represented by eleven people and we tried to get to the root cause of the problem,” Byabarumwanzi told the House.

He pointed out that the main issues tabled included the manner in which the final selection exams were set and the supervisors, who the complainants say were not qualified.

In March this year,the telecom company laid off 120 employees in what they called an internal restructuring exercise after an assessment that was carried out on all employees.

To get to the bottom of the issue, the Committee also invited the Minister for Labour and Public Service, Anastase Murekezi who confirmed that while the exams were meant to be administered by British Telecom, Rwandatel instead used the expertise of Uganda Telecom.

During the meeting, Murekezi revealed that the Rfw188 million package would compensate 96 of the employees while six would be reinstated.

However, 15 of the fired staff refused the package, though Byabarumwanzi did not divulge the details as to why they turned down the offer.

The development ends a dispute that has been raging between the former employees of Rwandatel and the company where the disgruntled former staff also petitioned the workers’ umbrella CESTRAR to step in and solve the standoff.

CESTRAR Secretary General, Eric Manzi, took the side of the former employees pointing out that a number of articles in the Labor Code, such as the retrenchment package and staff regulations, were breached.

LapGreen Networks took over 80 percent of  Rwandatel  after signing a final agreement of $100 million. The remaining 20 percent stake remains with the Social Security Fund of Rwanda. LAP green promises to invest $317 million over the next 15 years to improve on the telecom company.

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