Friday, 23 May 2008 2:37 PM

Removal of Deputy GM of Telekom Sparks Mass Resignation

Attempts by Telekom General Manager, Martyn Robinson, to blame moves to remove him from office on his Solomon Islander Deputy, Harry Zoleveke by sacking him, has backfired.

The collective response of the Solomon Islander Telekom workers yesterday was to resign en-masse.

During a visit yesterday to a stop work meeting of the local Telekom workers in Honiara, many were in the process of signing their resignation letters.
A spokesman for the workers stated that Harry Zoleveke's sacking was an attempt by Robinson to deny the fact that all the Solomon Islander employees of Telekom support his immediate removal from office.

"He sacked one of us and our reaction is a mass resignation of more than three hundred Solomon Islander workers, including those in the Provinces to show Robinson and all that we are united in our call and resolve for Robinson to leave," the spokesman said.

Meanwhile, Telekom's operating centres in Central Honiara and at Ranadi were closed yesterday, with notices at the front gates stating that Telekom was closed yesterday for a staff meeting to discuss their situation. The notices also say that any queries should be directed to the Chief Executive Officer of the Solomon Telekom, Martyn Robinson.

The local staff's mass resignations are in support of their demand for the immediate resignation of company CEO Martyn Robinson or for the Telekom Board to remove him in seven days if he does not resign own his own, within 48 hours.

Telekom local staff has submitted this week a petition to the majority owner the National Provident Fund and the Government demanding Robinson's removal. The petition has been signed by representatives of Local Managers and Contracted Staff, the Senior Staff Association (SSA) representing the middle management staff, and the Solomon Islands Telecommunication Workers Union (SITWU) representing the lower bracket of the Telekom workforce.

The local employees of Solomon Telekom have pledged total and collective support in their petition for their demands and pledge to take supporting industrial actions if their demands are not addressed.

In the early nineties, local employees also put pressure on Telekom which led to the removal of former expatriate General Manager John De Gabriel over the same issues that the local staff is now raising against Robinson, particularly the area of training, fairness, and discriminatory practices.

While John De Gabriel was only in the country for a short period, Robinson has been the Telekom CEO for seventeen (17) years and since arriving in the country has successfully removed SINUW from Telekom during his tenure in office.

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