Burundi: Lumitel employees denounce unfair working conditions

About 400 staff members of Vietel Burundi Cell Company known as “Lumitel” throughout the country have organized a demonstration peaceful march in the morning of 7 August to stand against harsh and unfair working conditions. All of them were wearing black shirts and T-shirts. “We would like to show our growing disenchantment before starting our daily activities”, says one of them.

Lumitel employees say they are engaged in a pacific fight to defend their working conditions

Lumitel employees say they are engaged in a pacific fight to defend their working conditions

He says Lumitel Cell Company never offers good working conditions to employees. “New employees successively sign a three-month, a one year and a three -year contract. While they are about to sign a permanent contract, they are dismissed from work,” he says.
N. M., another employee, says 63 employees have already been dismissed since Vietel Company has started operating in Burundi. “And about 104 employees will be dismissed at the end of this year”, says another employee.

The same employee also says the seniority allowances are not well calculated: “We ignore how the managing director works them out given that we sometimes receive our payment through Lumicash- cell phone operations”, he says adding that the annual leave is not paid.

According to employees, Vietel Cell Company organized several meetings in vain. Since January 2018, he says, Vietel Managing Director told the staff that the business climate in Burundi is not promising, the reason why it is impossible to conclude permanent contracts. “He said the business climate does not allow the company to renew the operating licenses in Burundi,” he says.

Vietel Staff have voiced their concerns through a correspondence sent to the office of the work inspection in Burundi. According to the recommendations of Burundi work inspection office, about 250 employees of Vietel Cell Company would have permanent contracts at the beginning of this year.

Vietel employees call upon Burundi government to intervene to find solutions. “Even Burundi government loses if the company doesn’t pay the workers income tax and insurance fees’”, he says. The dismissed employees are replaced by trainees and assistants. Iwacu has tried to contact Vietel Managing Director but he didn’t want to express himself.