TSTT WILL face a fresh challenge to its efforts to rightsize the company, this time in the courts.
The Communications Workers Union (CWU) will declare the dismissal of 503 workers in November an unresolved matter and call for judicial oversight.
TSTT has since retrenched 51 executives, with more to go, but those employees aren’t covered by the union.
CWU’s Clyde Elder was in a particularly fiery mood last week after he claimed that security staff at the Nelson Exchange removed him forcibly from the premises when he went to TSTT’s premises to hear workers’ concerns.
TSTT’s response to this accusation wasn’t particularly robust, as the company claimed in a subsequent press release that the visit was “a deliberate attempt by the CWU to thwart any efforts by the company to ensure that the organisational transformation is seamless.”
If a visit by one union leader to a single company building threatens the “seamlessness” of the company’s organisational transformation, then it needs significant reinforcement.
The company stood on union engagement rules to justify this unfortunate incident, citing a need for 72 hours notice in an environment in which members of staff might justifiably be understood to be stunned and shaken by their circumstances.
TSTT found itself on shaky ground after the incident, allowing itself to be seen as fragile and uncertain in its handling of the dismissals, which is not something it needs at this stage of its turnaround effort.
The company is operating in a turbulent telecommunications sector, buffeted not only by competition locally but by fundamental changes in the infrastructure of telecommunications itself globally.
TSTT’s stated plan to become “an agile broadband communications company” is a grand ambition to become more digitally entrepreneurial in its business approach in the future.
To do that, the company will need not just less workers, but a complement of the right workers for that job – smart, forward thinking individuals willing to completely rethink a long entrenched status quo at the majority-owned state agency.
Much of TSTT’s communications about its new direction has been driven by technology statements and an impressive grab bag of acronyms – 4GLTE, WTTx, 5G. All these new technologies are exciting, but their embrace by TSTT is only one indicator of the potential for the company’s future success.
TSTT has traditionally been an infrastructure company, delivering the cabling and hardware that’s enabled communication.
It’s new challenge is to deliver solutions, as software and services that lubricate 21st century communications.
To do that, it will need the best, most capable people available for the job and the company should be aware that many of those future hires are looking at how it treats its legacy employees today.