PTCL set on retrenchment despite red light from government -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

PTCL set on retrenchment despite red light from government

Karachi:Despite failing to get a “go ahead” from the government of Pakistan, the Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL), on Wednesday, formally announced the introduction of a golden handshake scheme to lay off its “extra” employees but said nobody would be compelled to accept the offer.

Insiders claimed that PTCL management had finalised the plans to lay off as many as 30,000 employees and although Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz had asked the organisation to put the plans in this regard on hold till the time the political situation stabilised, the PTCL management was not willing to wait any more in this regard.

They said that PTCL President Waleed Irshad had called on PM Shaukat Aziz last week in a bid to convince him to contribute to a pool of funds established for provision of incentives to retiring officials and, on his reluctance, had threatened to stop the next payment due the government.

However, no details of the scheme were made public nor was any letter or notification issued from the Staff and Establishment Branch of the PTCL headquarters in Islamabad in this regard till the office closure timings. Conflicting statements from the PTCL officials accentuated the panic and anxiety among PTCL employees as the company’s Karachi spokesman said PTCL was planning a Voluntary Separation Scheme (VSS) for employees while an official based in Islamabad spoke of a “golden handshake scheme introduced by the management”.

It was learnt that a former official of the PTCL Shahzad Saddan, who had served the company as SEVP (HR & Admin) had finalised the modalities of the VSS scheme and presented it to company’s board of directors, where the scheme was given approval with a few modifications.

Etisalat, which is the new management of the PTCL after its privatisation, had hired the services of an international consultancy firm which had recommended laying off as many as 30,000 employees for earning desired profits and task was assigned to Mr Saddan for preparing a scheme to get rid of such a large number of PTCL employees.

However, despite assurance from the PTCL management that no employee would be compelled to accept the offer, PTCL employees feared that a large number of them would have to lose their jobs owing to “ambiguous statements” issued by their management. Some PTCL union leaders claimed that around 7,000-8,000 employees recruited in 1997 would either have to lose their jobs or they would be asked to sign fresh employment contracts with the company as the PTCL management was planning to offer VSS or golden handshake only to those who had served PTCL for 12 or more years. Despite repeated attempts, PTCL spokesman Ali Qadir Gilani could not be approached for ascertaining his point of view.
Source: The News
Date:9/20/2007