Fifteen TelEm-employees granted voluntary leave

POSTED: 05/7/12 1:21 PM

St. Maarten – Telecom provider TelEm took 15 employees of its bloated payroll this week through a voluntary pre-pension scheme. Company spokesman Joe Dominique told this newspaper yesterday that 26 employees had applied for voluntary leave. “Fifteen were granted, five were denied and with six management is still negotiating the terms.”

When interim manager Pieter Drenth left the company at the end of September 2009,

TelEm had 201 employees. “In Europe this company could operate with less than one hundred people,” Drenth said at the time in an interview with Today, adding that he would settle for a downsizing between 20 and 30 percent. “That’s Caribbean efficiency,” he said.

The 15 that have now left the company account for 7.5 percent of the staff; if six additional employees take their voluntary leave, the percentage will increase to 10.4 percent – still a far cry from Drenth’s original goal.

The voluntary leave scheme was challenged in court by the unions; they argued that this should not be put in practice before the company’s restructuring was completed. The court however rejected this position.

“We have spoken with the unions,” Dominique said, “and we have now come to an agreement. This is a big part of our restructuring. On Wednesday the first twelve employees were granted voluntary leave. The next day they were no longer with the company; the other three obtained their leave on Thursday.”

During a flag raising ceremony yesterday, the company honored the departed employees and thanked them for their contribution.


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