Fired Rwandatel staff petition CESTRAR

• Labour inspector not consulted before retrenchment Most of the 120 Rwandatel employees sacked on Wednesday yesterday stormed the offices of CESTRAR, the umbrella body of workers’ unions to protest their sacking.
Some of the fired Rwandatel workers camp in front of CESTRAR offices in Kacyiru to contest their sacking yesterday. (Photo/ G. Barya)
Some of the fired Rwandatel workers camp in front of CESTRAR offices in Kacyiru to contest their sacking yesterday. (Photo/ G. Barya)

• Labour inspector not consulted before retrenchment

Most of the 120 Rwandatel employees sacked on Wednesday yesterday stormed the offices of CESTRAR, the umbrella body of workers’ unions to protest their sacking.

While hurling complaints, one after the other, the disgruntled former employees maintained that Rwandatel’s procedure of laying them off was unfair as many of them had clearly performed way above the set assessment mark.

“In the first place, a general exam was given to all employees regardless of which department they belonged to. Would it be fair for someone in customer care to sit for the same exam as one in the engineering department?” Innocent Kagabe, one of the victims complained.

Rwandatel, a telecommunication and internet Service Provider in the country took the decision to sack the employees on the grounds of human resource restructuring.

He added that the list of those who were fired had already been compiled even before the exams for the restructuring process were set.

In relation to the restructuring process, the former employees insist that they would not have complained if at all everyone who failed had been sacked as well.

“While some of us passed with 60 percent, some other employees like after failing with about 17.7 percent assessment results,” another who only identified himself as Benjamin added.

According to Cleophas Kabasiita, the Rwandatel Public Relations Officer, the pass mark was 40 percent.

During the protest, names like Ephraim Rudasingwa and Charles Semapondo were resounded over and over as victims of unfair lay off insisting that these were among the best performers in the company.

Rudasingwa is said to have scored 67.2 percent while Semapondo, a former Director of the telecommunication company passed with an average of 50 percent but scored over 90 in the written exams.

CESTRAR Secretary General, Eric Manzi also confirmed that to a greater extent Rwandatel management was unfair, but hastened to add that a follow-up is yet to be done so that necessary measures are taken to settle this matter.

“Before Rwandatel initiated this retrenchment practice, we, as a workers union requested to be a part of this process. Unfortunately, the management denied us this right. We needed to be involved to ensure that no employee is victimised,” Manzi told The New Times during the interview. He however added that Rwandatel management would allow CESTRAR’s involvement after the restructuring process.

“Our follow-up will mainly focus on whether the assessment procedure was accurate.”

“The labour code states that once a company has intentions of retrenching employees, the labour inspector must be informed before, but this is not what happened,” he said.

Manzi added that a number of articles in the code such as the retrenchment package and staff regulations were breached.

“The Rwandatel issue demeans the whole idea of wooing investors since one of the reasons is to create jobs for Rwandans. A third of the whole human resource base can not simply turn out to be incompetent unless the company does not train their employees,” he emphasised.

Rwandatel had 427 employees before the lay-offs.

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