Posted: Tuesday, April 20, 2021. 8:19 am CST.
By Aaron Humes: Twenty-four, not 18 as originally reported, employees of Belize Telemedia Limited/Digi (BTL) were made redundant yesterday in what the company says is a last-ditch effort to correct the course of lost revenue and income generation due to the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic issues.
In a statement BTL claims to have lost $33 million in revenue in the recently concluded fiscal year despite implementing various cost optimization measures such as hiring freeze; reducing planned capital spending; reducing operational expenses; reducing management salaries and allowances; foregoing management bonuses; reducing staff allowances and deferring staff bonuses; and reducing Board of Directors stipend. The company saved $24 million on these measures after consulting with staff, yet failed to make any progress as customers dropped its various services.
Nonetheless, BTL Chief Executive Office Ivan Tesecum promised that while it is a sad day at St Thomas Street, the company continues to value its employees and respect them, and service to customers continues regardless.
Telemedia echoed the sentiment of the Belize Communications Workers Union (BCWU) that none of the released workers were mistreated under the Labour Law as to their final severance and in fact received additional benefits to assist with their transition.
The company previously ended employment of 20 staff workers on contract but has maintained it will not significantly cut its staff as previous media reports suggest.
Coincidentally, the releases come on the same day as the death of former Board chairman and legendary company figure Nestor Vasquez Sr, who left in some disgrace after fleecing the company for millions for personal expenses. The company has yet to comment publicly on his passing though executive chairman Mark Lizarraga told us when we informed him, “May he rest in peace,” adding that it was too soon to say anything else.
Telemedia expects a rough ride ahead to remain the number 1 telecom service in Belize but promises, “We are redefining the future of our organization by adapting to the new market realities and being more innovative and efficient, which is the only sustainable path to improved profitability.
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