The new name for the merged Tigo and Airtel is will be put out officially on November 10, 2017, Adom News sources have revealed.
Some workers of the company told Adom News the newly named CEO of the merged company, Roshi Motman, informed them at their maiden joint meeting with management recently that the set date for the launch is November 10, 2017.
“Roshi told us the new name of the company will be announced officially on November 10, 2017; she also told us she is not sure the new name will be Orange,” one junior manager told Adom News.
Similar meetings were held with workers across the regions and some workers from those regions also confirmed to Adom News that they were told the same thing.
A highly-placed source in the company, who pleaded anonymity, also confirmed what the workers said.
It had earlier been speculated that French telecom giant, Orange, was going to take over the merged Tigo-Airtel and rename the brand Orange.
Even though it is still not clear what new name will be announced next month, reliable sources still maintain that Orange will take over when telcos in the country go for the renewal of licenses upon expiry in 2019, which is just two years away.
Meanwhile, at that maiden meeting, workers of both companies were captured in a hearty and energetic mood, as they relish the moment of being part of a historic feat in Ghana’s telecoms industry – the merger.
The company is now in the process of forming a management team to build respective teams of the merged telcos to run affairs as a unit.
Outside of the joy of being part of history, some workers are still anxious about the security of their jobs, as they have been asked to re-apply, go through an aptitude test and interviews to qualify for jobs with the merged company.
Some have hinted they wanted to opt for voluntary retrenchment because of the re-application directive.
They say the new measure means their relationship with their respective employers (Airtel or Tigo) has ended so they want to take their redundancy packages and ‘run’.
Workers allege the company is subtly trying to prevent voluntary redundancy by asking everyone to re-apply so that those who do not qualify would be treated as failed applicants and not as people who have completed a run and deserve redundancy packages.
Section 65 (2) of the Labour Act, Act 651, 2003 states in part that in the event of amalgamation (merger), where the merger causes severance (termination) of the legal relationship of worker and employer as it existed immediately before the merger, and leads to the worker becoming unemployed or suffers any diminution in the terms and conditions of employment, the worker is entitled to be paid by the undertaking at which that worker was immediately employed prior to the merger a compensation referred to as “redundancy pay”.
Subsection (4) says the amount of redundancy pay and the terms and conditions of payment are matters which are subject to negotiation between the employer or a representative of the employer on the one hand and the worker or the trade union concerned on the other.
“Any dispute that concerns the redundancy pay and the terms and conditions of payment may be referred to the National Labour Commission by the aggrieved party for settlement, and the decision of the Commission shall subject to any other law be final,” Sub-section 5 stated.
But a highly-placed source at Tigo-Airtel has told Adom News that the new CEO is a “people person” and would never allow anyone to leave the company without getting their due redundancy package.
The source noted that there are plans to ensure that any permanent worker of Tigo or Airtel who re-applies for a job but does not get the job with the merged company, will walk away with a deserving redundancy package.
“There is no way any permanent worker who has a direct contract with either Tigo or Airtel is leaving the company with nothing,” the source said.
According to the source, the purpose of the reapplication is to ensure that all those who will remain, would get meaningful jobs that march their qualification and expertise, but never to deny people their redundancy packages.
On the issue of voluntary redundancy, the source simply said: “I don’t know that now.”
Meanwhile, Unionist Morgan Ayawine, who is the Deputy General Secretary of the Industrial and Commercial Workers Union (ICU) has told Adom News that the only condition under which workers would continue to work for the merged company, without being paid their redundancy packages, would be for them to get automatic employment without reapplying.
He said if workers have to reapply and qualify for jobs, then the original relationship has to be closed properly per the provisions of Section 65 (2) of the Labour Act.
Labour Expert Kofi Davor also explained the merged company is beginning a new relationship with workers so the two entities in the merger must pay their respective workers their redundancy packages before the new relationship with the merged company begins.
His view is that the merged company may want to shortchange the workers because they (the workers) don’t belong to any organised labour group.
Kofi Davor is, therefore, advising the workers to come together and either join a labour union or seek the assistance of a labour expert to negotiate their packages as required by law.
Meanwhile, the law also states in Section 66 that workers on contract, workers employed for a specific period of time for a specified job, those under probation, and casual workers are not qualified to benefit from the package under Section 65.
The actual merge is taking off gradually, as some Airtel Shops have started closing down in some communities where Tigo has bigger customer service centres, and vice a versa. A case in point is the closedown of an Airtel Shop at Abeka Lapaz in Accra, where Tigo has a bigger shop.
The two have up to 18 months to completely merge their networks and operations across the country.