Staff at Cell C are very unhappy after they were told by their boss that they would not get any bonuses this year because the mobile phone operator had not met its EBITDA 2017 targets.
A letter to the staff written by Cell C CEO Jose Dos Santos – himself a recipient of part of the R219 million windfall paid to three executives – states that workers will not be paid any bonuses or short-term incentive programme (STIP) this year.
Dos Santos wrote: “As you will be aware, April is usually the time of the year that we issue bonuses to staff based on company performance.
“2017 was a tough year for the business, with many challenges and changes from a recapitalisation point of view.
“As a result, the company did not achieve its EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) target and therefore STIP bonuses will not be paid.
“A decision has, however, been made by the Cell C Remuneration Committee that employee on grade D3 and below will receive a discretionary payment as a gesture of appreciation for the effort and hard work.”
The letter co-signed by chief human resource officer Juliet Mhango added that the company have made huge progress to date, but in order to win “we will require focus, dedication and willingness to engage”.
Staff were left baffled and despondent, especially because top executives were paid out more than R200 million ostensibly as a “success fee” or bonus for securing an R13.5 billion recapitalisation from JSE-listed Blue Label Telecoms.
For more read: R219 Million Paid To Three Top Execs At Cell C In 2017
A disgruntled worker said to add insult to injury the letter advising them that bonuses would not be paid was rounded off with a rather insensitive request:
“You personally can make a difference every single day and we look forward to you giving this company your best in 2018 so that we can enjoy the rewards in 2019.”
The question to ask is what happened to the rest of the R651 million allocated for performance and retention bonuses or STIP in the Cell C’s 2017 Annual Financial Statement go to?
According to the company’s Annual Financial Statement, Cell C made an additional provision of R358 million for employee benefits. Insiders claim this was the “success fee” provision. Therefore, the total success fee were R358 million, paid in 2017 and a tranche of R195 million in July 2018, according to another insider.
The question is: how much, on top of the R219 million did the prescribed officers get in July 2019, and who got the rest?
Insiders claim their bosses won’t let them see the company’s financial figures even the group results.
“The 2017 Annual Financial Statements are disingenuous because they are “Group” results, so what gets shifted around in the “Company” and in the subsidiaries is well hidden from both the staff and investors of Blue Label Telecoms and Net1,” another insider stated.
“Is it fair to rate staff on “Group” EBITDA, where you can lump all your hidden costs?”
Meanwhile, Blue Label, a parent company of Cell C, has declared that the mobile phone operator was positioned for growth.
Joint CEO Brett Levy told TechCentral on Wednesday that Blue Label put “a lot of thought and process” into the R5.5-billion Cell C acquisition.
“We didn’t buy it because we had to buy it, we didn’t buy it because we felt like another asset — we bought it because we thought it could add tremendous value.”
He said “every single line item” — from budgeting to business planning — at Cell C has been surpassed in the eight months since the deal was consummated.
“We are up on every single line item.”
He told TechCentral that Cell C is positioned for growth as a “strong” third player behind Vodacom and MTN.
However, it boggles the mind why staff have been deprived of bonuses with so many positive things going on. – firstname.lastname@example.org