Layoffs lead people theft at Ethiotelecom

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People in the small room of an old building at Arat Kilo, waited in long lines like they normally do at the beginning of every month to pay their phone bills. However, this month many had to come back several days in a row when they were told the cashier had not shown up for work. Normally people have seven days to pay the bill without penalty.  So when the cashier didn’t show up even after a week, people began to worry.  But instead of having to pay a penalty, people were told to come on Friday March 11 and pay their bill without any fine.  It was then that an explanation was given to the customers.  Apparently the cashier ran off with 80,000 birr from the collection.  One employee who declined to give her name, because of the sensitivity of the issue, reported that the cashier took all the money that they collected.
Similar incidents have taken place in different areas. According to Capital sources, before the Arat Kilo incident, over 330,000 birr was taken from Debre Birhan branch. In Addis Ababa at the London Café location near 1.3 million birr disappeared, while at Nekemt branch about 6 million birr was taken away. Though the amount of money stolen is not known, there are reports that the money collected in Afar, Dire Dawa and Gondar regions have also vanished.
Capital sources indicate that most of the cashiers that took away the money are those who did not have their contract renewed by the newly managed ethiotelecom. It is said that they are among the 8,000 employees dismissed. The sources also confirmed that there are cashiers who disappeared even after they renewed the contract. ETC was dissolved under regulation 197/2003 (Ethiopian Calendar) adopted by the Council of Ministers.  Meanwhile, the South-East region of ethiotelecom employees, both whose contract renewed and not renewed (presumed dismissed) held a meeting presided by Diriba Kuma, Minister of Transport, at Adama in midweek but failed to agree with the terms proposed by the Minister. Capital learnt that the Minister proposed for those who are dismissed to form a union and work together as partners. But they rather requested for their contract to be terminated and to be given the provident funds. The same disagreement was observed a month earlier when the dismissed Addis Ababa former Tele employees held a meeting chaired by Ato Debretsion Gebre Michael, Technology and Information Minister.
In Adama when it was announced that all the drivers will remain with ethiotelecom the employees received it with happiness. What was also new at Adama was the refusal to sign the three-month contract even those who agreed to continue working at the ethiotelecom. The employees argue that as they are old staff, they are not entitled to sign a three-month contract as new employees. They suggested that they receive their ETC service pay before they sign a new contract. The meeting dispersed without agreement.   Though details are not available the same kind of meeting
took place in the North region in Mekele.  Capital’s repeated calls to two ethiotelecom officials failed to bear fruit. Source ( Capital )