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More CWC jobs likely

Shawn Cumberbatch

More CWC jobs likely

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It will be at least another year before Barbadians and others in the Caribbean see the consummation of the Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC) and Columbus International Inc. marriage.

But fresh from receiving the Fair Trading Commission’s (FTC) conditional approval of the deal, CWC’s chief executive officer Phil Bentley says hundreds of new jobs in the region will be one of major outcomes.

In a video interview released last week by CWC, Bentley said he could not promise there would be no redundancies from the merger, but he explained that job reductions were more likely to take place in Florida where both CWC and Columbus had their headquarters.

He also said that a previous estimate of 500 jobs being created from the merger was now “probably on the conservative side” and that he expected “we will probably do better than that”.

“If we grow faster, if we are investing quicker, we will probably do better than that because we are looking to bring jobs back into the company. Cable & Wireless has outsourced a lot of jobs [but] we are looking to bring jobs back into the Caribbean,” he explained.

“If you are asking me ‘will there be any redundancies as well?’, there may be, and I am not going to pretend that there might not be. If we have two people doing the same job we owe it to our customers to keep our costs down and give them the very best value, but equally, if we can re-deploy team members and use their skills somewhere else, we would look to do that first. But I can’t promise no redundancies obviously we are putting two companies together.

“If there are any [redundancies], the likelihood is that they will be more in Florida where the headquarters of both Columbus and Cable & Wireless are operating, but less so in the Caribbean.”

Bentley said it was “probably going to take about 12 months before every market is fully integrated and all the branding decisions and all the questions about network operations and technology and billing stores” completed.

Commenting on the FTC’s condition that fixed line and mobile number portability had to be available in Barbados by the end of September and November respectively, the CEO said this was a policy that CWC was committed to.

Bentley said he preferred customers to stay with the company because they wanted to, not because they were forced to.