Workers at Zimbabwe’s third-largest mobile network operator Telecel Zimbabwe downed tools this week in protest over network inefficiency and poor resourcing within the beleaguered mobile telecommunications service provider.
David Mhambare, secretary-general at the Communications and Allied Workers Union of Zimbabwe, said on Tuesday the strike was triggered by a massive shortage of raw materials.
RELATED READING: TELECEL ZIMBABWE WOES CONTINUE AS IT FACES EVICTION
Mhambare said workers at this company are the least paid within the telecommunications industry and added: “We’re only demanding (for) resources to do our work every day. The company’s key software has not been updated and since January this year and no receipts have been issued.”
RELATED READING: JAMES MAKAMBA WINS TELECEL ZIMBABWE SHAREHOLDING BATTLE
Mhambare also said most transactions are being carried out on a manual basis, while technicians do not have any fuel to carry out their business.
According to Mhambare, Telecel only provides 15% network coverage in specific areas including Masvingo, Beitbridge, Chinhoyi, and Nkayi.
“Most Telecel offices are not even relying on their own networks to conduct business as they have to use other service providers like Econet and NetOne,” he said. Telecel Zimbabwe’s chief executive officer Angeline Vere declined to comment on the situation.
Last month the Minister of ICT, Jenfan Muswere complaining that all was not well with the struggling mobile telecoms firm and operations had deteriorated “to unimaginable proportions.”
The company has cited local currency depreciation, difficulties accessing foreign currency to pay off the vendor and imported equipment obligations, as well as other broader operational bottlenecks, as contributors towards its current situation.
In Q2 2019 Last year, Telecel registered a 4.9% decline in subscribers, according to the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz). Econet and NetOne subscriber bases grew 1.3% and 6.1% respectively. Telecel was the only mobile operator to record a decline in active subscriptions.
RELATED READING: ECONET WIRELESS REVENUES INCREASE BY 45% TO HIT $1,25 BILLION
Independent ICT expert Reward Kangai said the strike was “inevitable as the so-called 60% share acquisition by the government was riddled with ex-minister’s corruption.
As usual, the government revert to default settings of blaming CEO, whilst culprit and rest of cartel walk free.” There is no clear indication of when the strike action will end and the company is yet to issue a formal statement.