Leading mobile phone operator Grameenphone has started a process for launching its common delivery centre (CDC) project that would ultimately wipe out jobs of at least 600 permanent employees of the entity, officials said.
Under the project, the telecom operator will outsource technological and network-related services from international vendors.
To this end, the mobile phone operator has issued an intimation letter to Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission about its move in implementing the project.
Apart from giving the letter to the commission, GP also floated an international RFQ (request for quotation) from potential vendors for the implementation of the CDC project.
The commission’s department concerned last week sought legal opinion from its legal and licencing department to check whether the move of the telecom operator was consistent with the rules and regulations of the commission, senior BTRC officials told New Age on Friday.
BTRC commissioner Md Rezaul Quader told New Age on Friday that he was aware about the telecom operator’s move regarding implementation of CDC project.
‘We will look into the matter next week,’ he said.
The mobile phone operator in a statement issued by its acting chief corporate affairs officer Hossain Sadat on December 27 last year informed the telecom regulator about the CDC project implementation.
‘Request for quotation has been released to top global vendors for appointing vendors to carry out certain works which will enable Grameenphone to provide modern and future-proof services to its valued customers,’ the statement read.
GP is currently exploring the model, but no model is set yet, it said.
The aim of the project also includes building necessary capabilities to handle future networks such as automation, artificial intelligence, machine learning, analytics, customer-centric planning and optimisation.
Ensuring best in class voice and data service in 4G and 5G technologies are among its objectives, said the GP letter adding that the implementation of the project would require shifting certain workers from an in-house to outsourced model.
Speaking about the new outsourcing model, GP People’s Council chairman Mia Mohammad Shafiqur Rahman Masud told New Age the CDC project was taken just to maximise GP’s profit by outsourcing technological and network management services from other entities.
‘We all the employees of GP are capable to take challenges of adopting with new technologies like launching 5G service and it was already proved by the successful launch of 3G and 4G services with the same human resources,’ said Masud.
‘If needed, we are even ready to serve Telenor’s other business unit while working under the GP,’ the chairman of a GP employees’ platform said.
‘If implemented, the project would wipe out jobs of around 600 permanent employees,’ he added.
Earlier, in October last year, Grameenphone Employees Union (proposed) president Fazlul Haque and its general secretary Mia Mohammad Shafiqur Rahman Masud sent a letter to prime minister Sheikh Hasina seeking her intervention to stop the CDC programme.
GP Employees Union said, ‘To maximise highest profit, GP has been taking several unlawful steps to reduce the huge workforce since 2008.’
The number of permanent employee in GP was 5,500 in 2015 that was slashed down by 2,849 to 2,651 within one year.
The entity reduced the number of its fulltime employees further to 2,397 at the end of 2017.
GP officials informed that another 100 fulltime employees of the entity took the voluntary retirement scheme of GP recently in fear of job cut under the CDC project.
GP, however, in its letter to the telecom regulator claimed that Telenor, the parent company of the mobile phone company, as well as GP, is well known for taking its employees into highest consideration wherever any change in operating model is put in place and this time there will be no exception.
Strong people-friendly commitments have been already secured from vendors in the global frame agreement as the employees who may be affected will be communicated well in advance before any transition to any selected global vendors takes place.
It also mentioned that the employees would get job guarantee for a certain period of time in the entity where they would be transferred.
The net profit of GP grew by 28.37 per cent or Tk 778 crore in the year of 2018 compared with that in the previous year. Its profit growth was 21.73 per cent in the year of 2017.
The operator posted Tk 3,520 crore in net profit in 2018 while the net profit was Tk 2,742.3 crore a year ago.
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