Subscribers lose out in battle between PTCL, its workers -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Subscribers lose out in battle between PTCL, its workers

LAHORE: With the negotiations between the Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) management and employees being called off, customers remain at the losing end with landline closures causing many problems.

At least 100,000 landlines across the city are not working, according to a PTCL official. Besides landlines being out of order, other services like PTCL Helpline and internet services are also not working. In addition, credit and debit cards machines at shops are out of order, causing inconvenience to both customers and shopkeepers.

Some telephone exchanges have been switched off by PTCL employees while a large number of telephone connections that broke down as a result of recent rains in the city, remain to be fixed since linesmen, clerks and technicians are on strike. However, PTCL management remains confident that the situation will improve soon.

Telephone lines in several areas including Model Town, Gulberg, Defence, Township, WAPDA Town and Garden Town among others have been affected as a result of the strike. Residents of these areas said that they had registered complaints in their local exchanges but no one had come to restore their connections. “My phone has not been working for the last three days. I have lodged my complaint many times but to no avail,” said a PTCL consumer Rana Asif Mehmood of Johar Town adding that his neighbours also faced similar issues. He said that if the company could not provide service to the customers, it should waive off the monthly line rent.

“We pay Rs250 as line rent per month. What good is that if I have a dead phone,” he said.

However, there are those who have found a way around these problems. Javed Ahmed, a resident of WAPDA Town, said that he had bribed a lineman to fix his telephone.

Businesses have also suffered as a result of the strike by PTCL employees with shopkeepers complaining that their debit card/credit card machines are not working.

They said that sales had declined because of the closure of telephone lines. Abdul Sami, the manager of a drug store on Model Town Link Road, said, “Around 20 per cent of my sales depend on credit and debit cards but now I can’t charge customers’ cards.”

Sami added that the PTCL management should resolve all outstanding issues with its employees, “Why should I pay for the failings of the management?”

PTCL senior executive vice president Human Resources, Mazhar Hussain, said that the company had hired new staff to resolve the consumers’ complaints, saying that the company was working on restoring and repairing all faulty lines as well as help lines. “The customers should be patient. The company is working round the clock to solve their problems,” he added. On the other hand, Employees Union (CBA) secretary general Hasan Muhammad Rana, said that the employees were ready to restore the connections but in order for them to do that the management had to stop threatening them.

“Instead of solving the issue amicably, the management is threatening us,” he said.

The Lahore High Court has already directed the PTCL administration and employees to settle the issue amicably.
Source: The Express Tribune