Telecel employees awarded ZWL5 cushioning allowance

MOBILE Network Operator (MNO) Telecel’s employees were on Wednesday awarded a paltry ZWL5 increment in daily transport allowance to cushion them against the harsh economic environment that has rendered them incapacitated, Zim Morning Post can reveal.

 Zim Morning Post gleaned a communique authored by the MNO’s chief executive Angeline Vere advising employees that their daily transport allowance has been increased to ZWL 25 with immediate effect.

Vere reasoned that the company was also in an economic quagmire, since  the operating costs continue to soar, adding that the electricity load shedding also  exacerbated their woes as they had to increase fuel usage.

“We acknowledge receipt of your letter dated 21 November 2019 sent through the workers committee in which employees cited incapacitation as a reason for difficulties in reporting for duty.

“Management understands the reality and effect of the current challenging environment and has been making every practical effort to mitigate the effects on staff welfare whilst also keeping the company on its feet,” read part of the communique addressed to all staffers and executives.

“In the meantime, in recognition of the transport hardships, the transport allowance has been adjusted to ZWL25 per day with immediate effect,” further reads the communique.

The management pleaded with employees to be patient until mid-December where a possible upward review will be considered.

Zim Morning Post established that the current daily transport allowance was pegged at ZWL20, at a time when commuter omnibuses are increasing fares almost on a daily basis.

The last salary review was last effected in August 2019 and the company submitted that POTRAZ’s tariffs adjustments effected in November, affected their decision to award a salary increase as they had to assess the same’s impact on revenue in light of inflation.

This week, this publication accurately reported that the MNO’s employees were lamenting over poor salaries and incapacitation forcing management to meet with view of giving feedback on Wednesday.

The employees said their concerns over meagre wages and incapacitation and calls for an upward review of salaries had fallen on deaf ears.

“The management particularly the chief executive (Angeline Vere) said the company’s coffers are dry and said she will get back to us on Wednesday.

She had to leave in a huff around 3pm as she could not contain the pressure.

“So we will not leave the boardroom as we await for her on Wednesday.

“We cant afford to pay for transport and the salary erosion needs cushioning.

“Management is enjoying big perks while we suffer,” said an employee for concealed his identity for fear of reprisal.

“The board chair James Makamba and Vere are making  decisions for self enrichment rather than Telecel’s intrests.

“Minister Muswere must intervene,” our  source revealed then.

On Tuesday, the company’s public relations executive Farai Katiza told this publication that there was no crisis at the MNO, but the latest communication to employees proves otherwise.

Recently, Vere  was accused of buying a top of the range vehicle without board approval and employees were bitter.

Deafening calls for Vere’s ouster have been echoing for a prolonged period forcing board members to clash.

Some members drew swords against Vere on allegations of turning the mobile telecommunications company into a loss-making entity since taking over the reins in 2015.

Government  assumed a controlling stake in Telecel after buying a 60 percent stake in 2016.

Vere’s nemesis backed their ouster calls on basis that she failed to uphold her fiduciary duties and failed to produce audited financial statements through the five-year period.

However, the Telecel boss scoffed at the allegations and said her mandate is to report to the board and subsequently the regulatory authority (POTRAZ) and she has never diverted from such.

“Well, first and foremost I do not report to staffers and have no obligation to be their buddies.

“I report to the board and they approved the purchase of that vehicle.

“Where did your source get that us$2 million figure, I was entitled to that car and I was supposed to buy a car worth $US150 000 but I bought a cheaper one for US$95 000 last year around October.

“Staffers do not know the terms of my contract and if they push for salary increase there are proper channels not the Press,” Vere told Zim Morning Post in a recent telephone interview.

Impeccable sources told Zim Morning Post that Vere is perceived as Makamba’s ‘blue eyed girl’ hence her unpopularity with staffers, stakeholders and some board members.

The fissures are said to have widened when early this year, after his return from self imposed exile, Makamba moved to suspend board member and ex-CEO Mr Francis Mawindi for allegedly leaking confidential company information.

It is believed that Mawindi has been persistently raising the flag over Vere’s alleged failure to adhere to prudential management practices and unilaterally making questionable decisions, which had negative connotations on the company’s finances, without seeking board approval.

However, in an email to board members dated 3 September 2018, Vere said the company had failed to implement its turnaround strategies after failing to secure a US$5 million loan for the exercise.

Sources said Telecel was being run by ‘three musketeers’ namely Vere, finance director Ezra Chinake and Obert Mandimika.

“In my interaction with Telecel as a stakeholder for years, I have noted that this company is run by three people Chinake, Vere and Mandimika.

“For an organization as big as that its unhealthy to concentrate power and decisions only to a handful of people,” said one of our sources