PHILIPSBURG– Chief Financial Officer of TelEm Group Helma Etnel lied to the Parliament of St. Maarten when answering questions regarding why TelEm’s Help Desk is in Curaçao and why it cannot be here.
During the Central Committee meeting on Wednesday, February 10, the Parliament of St. Maarten was informed by Etnel that there is a help desk in house at TelEm for more difficult cases. However, the reason why the Help Desk is in Curaçao, is not because they don’t want to have one, but because TelEm cannot get any locals, and there was no interest during downsizing.
The truth of the matter is that TelEm does not have an internal help desk, and TelEm does not want to any locals. The St. Maarten Communications Union (SMCU) can guarantee there are people in St. Maarten willing to work at the Help Desk.
TelEm had its own help desk until management decided to outsource the department without informing the union in 2008. When SMCU looked into the matter, it was discovered that management had already outsourced the department to a company in Curaçao. SMCU went to management and informed them that they could not outsource a department without notifying them. They also asked management what would happen to employees that were already working in St. Maarten.
Management’s response was the department was not bringing in any money, and during restructuring the department was going to be outsourced to make TelEm leaner. This was in 2008 and TelEm’s restructuring was in 2012.
Despite SMCU’s efforts to have TelEm place the 3 employees in another department within the company to avoid laying them off, management stuck to their decision and still sent the employees home.
SMCU together with the 3 former employees took TelEm to court and won the case. Management never asked these employees, who were considered redundant, to submit a bid for this job, because there was already a signed contract with the company in Curaçao. The 3 former employees’ salaries were not even close to the amount mentioned by Etnel in the Parliament meeting.
Whenever SMCU questioned management about the numerous complaints about the Curaçao help desk, and why no one in St. Maarten can get the job, management’s answer is that the money is not that great. However, they have refused to disclose the amount paid to the Curaçao company because they say that this is not a union concern.
The union is confident that if TelEm Management opened a bid in St. Maarten, that companies would show interest in this Help Desk.
Source: 721 news TelEm management misled Parliament and St. Maarten public