Unvaccinated TelOne staff sent on leave, physical meetings suspended

Bulawayo Bureau

LANDLINE phone and data service operator, TelOne, has directed its unvaccinated staff to go on leave with immediate and withdrew the Covid-19 allowance for all those the same category, as part mitigation measures against the spread of the deadly pandemic.

Following the Government’s guidance to decongest public office space to at least 25 percent of staff, TelOne says it has heeded the call and has urged all its workers to take the free Covid-19 vaccine being rolled out by the Government.

In an internal staff notice signed by corporate services director, Mr Hopewell Zinyau, TelOne said it was decongesting its offices but would ensure staff rotation to guarantee essential service provision. 

Under this arrangement, teams have been divided into two groups with one group working from home and another working from office using one-week rotation cycles, reads the notice.

Due to the reduction of business as a result of the reduced service uptake by both enterprise clients and public sector, Mr Zinyau said the company was experiencing a decrease in the productive hours. 

“As such, staff will be required to immediately take vacation leave starting with those that are not vaccinated. This is especially because unvaccinated individuals are at the highest risk of the effects of the Covid-19 virus, while also posing a great risk to all other staff and the company’s business continuity,” reads part of the notice. 

“Staff are advised that besides this being good protection for themselves, the company may soon take further measures against the unvaccinated in order to protect vaccinated staff members and the business.” 

The company has also suspended all physical meetings in favour of virtual proceedings in addition to strict social distancing requirements.

“Only client services sections remain open to clients with strict adherence to social distancing, masking and hand sanitising,” it said. 

Contacted for comment, TelOne corporate communications manager, Ms Melody Harry, said the company was taking seriously the intensification of the Covid-19 situation in the country and the consequent response by the Government in terms of decongestion and vaccination. 

Building on this thrust, she said the business was keen to guide its operations to ensure everyone’s safety and business continuity.

“TelOne acknowledges the seriousness of the Covid-19 situation in the country at the moment. As such we have taken a position to encourage our staff to be vaccinated,” she said. 

“To date we have at least 60 percent of our staff members who have taken up the vaccine under the Government programme. 

“Furthermore, we acknowledge the risk that those that have elected not to be vaccinated face. So, to reduce their exposure and the consequent risk to all others, we have requested that they take vacation leave until such a time the situation eases.” 

Ms Harry said the company would, however, continue to supported affected staff members through facilitating testing and care in the event of testing positive. This includes continued provision of hand sanitizers and facemasks.

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