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Ericsson scales down business operations

  • Published at 10:54 pm August 22nd, 2017
  • Last updated at 12:30 am August 23rd, 2017
Ericsson scales down business operations
Ericsson Bangladesh Limited is scaling back its business operations, terminating a number of employees over the past one year. The multinational network operator laid off a total of 50 workers on Monday without serving them any prior notice. According to a source, the company has so far sacked over 250 permanent and temporary employees – a clear representation of its motto to operate business on a small scale. The source said that, as Ericsson's business has shrunken, it has started to downsize the number of employees. In September last year, some 200 employees were fired, a major job cut in recent times. Sharing his bitter experience,  former Ericsson engineer Abu Nasim told the Dhaka Tribune: “The company's decision to cut down jobs hit us like a thunderbolt. “After graduating from a public university in electrical engineering I could have gotten a government job, but I did not go for it. I turned to the IT industry. Now, I am living in frustration.” Company insiders said, before upgradation of 3G networks across the country, Ericsson  operated on a large scale. Since the 3G modernisation project for all telecom operators was implemented, its role has shrunk. “If it does not get any new projects, like the 4G modernisation which the government is yet to decide on, Ericsson will scale back its operations further,” said an incumbent engineer in the company, asking not to be named. After the Robi-Airtel merger on November 16, 2016, Ericsson lost its tower management and operational work for Airtel. Meanwhile, it has also lost the project for leading mobile phone operator Grameenphone. Moreover, over the last one year, Ericsson has not received any new projects. Under the current circumstances, the Stockholm-based network operator has decided to cut down on jobs to survive the off-season. The sudden decision for lay-offs by Ericsson management has angered and disappointed employees.  Fired employees demonstrated and besieged the higher-ups to make them withdraw the decision to terminate. Another source said the company is planning to cut down even more jobs to minimise cost. Not only Ericsson, Grameenphone and Banglalink also terminated over 1,000 employees in the last year and a half. Meanwhile, Accenture PLC, one of the largest consulting and outsourcing companies in the world, laid off all 556 local staff members to close down its operation in Bangladesh. The employees, however, are bargaining with Ericsson's top management to introduce a Voluntary Separation Scheme so that they have options before termination. Lutfar Rahman, general secretary of Ericsson Employees Union, said no organisation can fire any employees without giving benefits. Fahim Mashroor, former president of the Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Service (BASIS), said most foreign companies come here to do business. After their business target is fulfilled, they go away. “On the contrary, local companies have long-term business commitments. They do not shut down over night.” Criticising trade union-centric movement in IT industry, BASIS President Mustafa Jabber said trade unions were the main reason for Ericsson's cutting down of business operations in Bangladesh. He suggested that the government should immediately make a new law for IT industry workers. “No doubt, the decision to cut down jobs is unfortunate for all of us, but graduate engineers and IT workers cannot engage in a labour-centric movement. “If there is no new law for IT industry workers, both owners and workers would be affected. Thus Accenture and Ericsson's decision will not bring any positive image for the country,” said Jabber. The Dhaka Tribune contacted Abdus Salam, acting unit head of Ericsson, but he declined to make any comment on the job cuts. Later in an email to the Dhaka Tribune, Ericsson said it has made a number of operational changes, including headcount reductions, based on its business needs. It claimed that all changes have been made and communicated to its employees in strict compliance with local regulations and company policies, and in keeping with the core values of professionalism and respect. Ericsson further said it is committed to resolving any concerns in relation to this matter in a fair and professional manner.
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