Now usually I don’t comment on the drama and politics on anything, but this particular issue regarding the Union and Bmobile has gotten way out of hand and for reasons that make absolutely no sense.
Let me put it to you like this. If you own a business and have employees, if you are not earning enough revenue to keep the business open, then the most logical thing is to cut where you can cut and/or downsize employees.
As it stands, Bmobile Corporate stores had turned into expensive bill payment centres. Extremely expensive bill payment centres. It made absolutely no sense to keep these stores operating the way they were. Instead of Bmobile trying to go the way of other telecoms companies around the world and rebuilding the retail stores into experience stores and turning them into learning centres first, sales second, they decided to close the corporate stores down and pass the responsibilities to their dealer channels.
I see absolutely nothing wrong with making that business decision. Would I have done it? No, but I still understand why they did it. Any business has the right to downsize, lay off, retrench, etc. The problem I have is people not understanding that most of the positions at the retail level are redundant and we are in the age of a global digital transformation with which Trinidad & Tobago has some serious catching up to do from a global perspective.
For goodness sakes people, we have watch companies like Macy’s, Sears, Target close down brick and mortar stores, even Walmart is closing locations across the US faster than ever. Retail HAS CHANGED people, and Bmobile has been seeing those effects first hand.
I just finished watching a video from Jack Ma (Ali Baba CEO & One of the richest men in the world) talk about how by 2030, 800 million jobs will be replaced by robots and automation. 800 million!!! Any position that can be replaced by a machine or online system is always going to be cheaper, and once the public learns how to use it, will ultimately be in the best interest of customers.
I cannot tell you the last time I paid a bill in the store, I do it all online from my CPU or mobile phone, except for Standards. Standards also need to get onboard with allowing customers to pay bills online because this visiting their locations is a hassle I could do without.
Understand that a contract or permanent job means absolutely nothing when a business needs to lay off people. The only thing that changes is whether you get paid out or not when you get let go. So for the people who are vexed that Bmobile closed down their Corporate stores, what were they supposed to do? Waste money on the expensive bill payment centres?
Maybe they come back in a few years with a refresh and completely up to date model for a how a retail store should be in 2018 & beyond. Maybe! But the CWU is acting like Bmobile has to keep their Corp stores open, they don’t.
Now, what Bmobile needs to focus on is a smoother transition over to the dealers and maybe raise the standards of how dealers should be operating once they are flying the Bmobile colours.
Not everyone will see where I am coming from, but the people who have lived abroad and understand how retail stores are changing in light of the Digital age in 2018 and moving forward, understand that Bmobile should definitely not of kept the stores open and operating as they have been.
To the workers who lost their jobs, it is definitely unfortunate but now is the time to start fresh. Start looking at what skills are needed for the future jobs that are coming out and start grinding. Mobile is not going anywhere, you just need to figure out how to be apart of it, if you want to stay in the new telecommunications field.