Cable & Wireless began offering voluntary separation packages to between 35 and 40 of its employees, company Chief Executive Tim Adam said Monday.
Mr. Adam said the lay-offs were simply part of the evolution of the company, designed to increase efficiency and value to customers.
‘This isn’t the first time we’ve done this,’ he said. ‘We’ve been doing this all the years I’ve been here.’
The lay-offs will also compensate for additional staff that was hired to help Cable & Wireless in its post-Hurricane Ivan recovery process.
Employees were notified starting last Friday of the separation offers. For some, Friday was their last day with the company. Others will not be leaving for a number of months, Mr. Adam said.
‘We’re letting them know now because we feel it’s a good thing to do.’
Although some employees are leaving the company, Mr. Adam said Cable & Wireless was still actively recruiting new talent.
‘We’re making sure we have the right team on board,’ he said.
‘We will do what is appropriate to meet the needs of the customer in the Cayman Islands.’
Just less than 15 per cent of the company’s staff got the voluntary separation offers, Mr. Adam said.
‘The voluntary separation offer is significantly better than what would be received if we strictly applied the severance pay required by law.
‘We consider it to be quite a generous offer. It’s fair to them.’
The package was attractive enough that some employees who did not receive the voluntary separation offer have even asked Cable & Wireless if they could have the option, Mr. Adam said.
Mr. Adam said that either he or Chief Operating Officer Ian Tibbetts have been meeting on a one-on-one basis with individuals given the separation offers.
‘Separation is never easy, but we’re determined to maintain open and clear communications with our staff,’ Mr. Adam said.
‘I think the staff respects us for the way we do this when it occurs.’
The people getting the voluntary separation offers have been with company for varying lengths of times, Mr. Adam said, noting that a few have been with the company more than 20 years.
No particular departments were targeted.
‘The lay-offs were more general in nature,’ Mr. Adam said. ‘We looked across the board at the company, and didn’t concentrate on any particular department.’
Mr. Adam called the lay-offs part of doing business in the dynamic telecommunications industry.
‘Part of it has to deal with the competitive nature [of the industry], but it’s also the more and more rapid development of technology,’ he said, noting that technology is also changing the way Cable & Wireless provides service to its customers.
The lay-offs would allow Cable & Wireless to provide the best total value for its many services to its customers, Mr. Adam said.
‘It allows us to remain competitive by keeping operation expenses in check and enhancing operating efficiency,’ he said.
Mr. Adam noted that in some cases there are automated processes that can provide certain company functions more efficiently.
The lay-offs also allow Cable & Wireless to take better advantage of its resources, technology and new facilities, Mr. Adam said.
The changes at Cable & Wireless will entail more than just lay-offs.
‘Some people will be asked to change their skill sets, and we’re also still recruiting,’ Mr. Adam said.
Cable & Wireless has laid off people several times before, the last time being in early 2004. However, after Hurricane Ivan in September, 2004, Cable & Wireless had to hire more people.
‘We actually increased our staff head count as part of the [Hurricane Ivan] recovery,’ Mr. Adam said. ‘This will get us back down to where we were, or slightly lower, than pre-Ivan.’