Tigo dealers strike over pay

Free-lancer dealers that represent Tigo, the country’s third telecom operator Tigo, yesterday protested a delay in payment of wages has stretched to over four months. The strike which saw a gathering of over 200 workers storm the Tigo Tower in Muhima affected the company’s business of selling Tigo products, including airtime, phones and accessories for almost the whole day. Workers said that the company had allegedly failed to honour its contractual obligations since September 2009.
Tigo free-lance workers at the Muhima during the sit down strike. (Photo S Butera)
Tigo free-lance workers at the Muhima during the sit down strike. (Photo S Butera)

Free-lancer dealers that represent Tigo, the country’s third telecom operator Tigo, yesterday protested a delay in payment of wages has stretched to over four months.

The strike which saw a gathering of over 200 workers storm the Tigo Tower in Muhima affected the company’s business of selling Tigo products, including airtime, phones and accessories for almost the whole day.

Workers said that the company had allegedly failed to honour its contractual obligations since September 2009.

Talking to the Business Times yesterday one of the team leaders, Belvant Bazige, explained that they are demanding a four months payment which Tigo management has failed to make.

Bazige explained that about other 550 free-lance dealers were recruited in September last year but have not received a single penny from the operators.

“We underwent a two months training when we were recruited in September and we signed contracts with the operator in November after it unveiled its operation on the market,” Bazige said.

“However, after signing the contracts, they (Tigo Management) started acting differently yet while signing the contracts they promised us heaven on earth,” Bazige explained.

The dealers had planned to strike on Wednesday this week but were reassured by their immediate supervisors that the money would be at the bank the following day, Thursday.

“We called it off and go back to work but the following day, the money was not their. They have been telling us the same kind of lies since January 1,” he added.

Business Times also talked to Richard Muhire, the Territory Supervisor of Tigo who said that the company has no pertinent issues with the dealers and that they have been paying them every end of the month ever since they started working with the operator.

They are about 700 freelancers working in three territories around Kigali, district  of Kicukiro, Nyarungege and Gasabo and they are all demanding for payment.

Bazige explained that while in training, they were promised a 12 percent commisssion on each handset they would sell and 10 percent on SIM cards.

They were also promised a bonus of $60 (Rwf34,200) if they sells five to ten handsets and $100 (Rwf57,000) if make sells of 15 handsets.  They promised to report the case to the Ombudsman.

During an interview with the Business Times on Wednesday, Tigo’s Head of Territory Management, Diego Camberos said that their claims were not true and were baseless.

He added that it is explained very well in their contracts how there payments will be made.

He explained what he called ‘Revenue Sharing’ and that the freelancers will be paid according to how much a subscriber loads on his/her phone then they will share that revenue after certain period of time.

He however said that they (Free-lancer dealers) don’t even appreciate yet Tigo covers their breakfast and transport which other operators don’t give to their freelancer dealers. By press time, the free-lance dealers were locked in a meeting with Tigo officials and the Mayor of Nyarungege.

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