Slavery at Airtel Malawi Call Center, Tech Mahindra LTD

Bharti Airtel

Taking into the advantage of the now sky-rocketing number of jobless Malawians, Tech Mahindra LTD has gone using Malawians for free at the Airtel Malawi’s Call Center. An Indian owned company, Tech Mahindra LTD is subcontracted by the country’s top mobile service provider, Airtel to run the call center. According to an investigation carried out by Face of Malawi, Tech Mahindra LTD has been recruiting people for Call Center Agent Training with the promise that they will be employed soon after completion.

An encounter with one of the former recruit, who spoke on strict condition of anonymity, showed that most of those who were invited for the July 2 2012 intake were abandoned soon after the training and generates money for the company. The source said that they are still waiting to hear from the company but they doubt if we will be employed since they are still recruiting others for the training. “We invite you to Call Center Agent training which will be conducted for 15 days. This training will be imparted free of cost will give you opportunity to enhance your customers services skills. “….a formal letter of employment will be offered upon your successful completion of your training,” reads part of the invitation letter signed by the company’s Assistant Human Resource Manager Kelvin Chipiriro Chirwa.

After the fifteen- day training which is literary practical, the group was then told to continue an extra ten-day period for ‘on-job-training’ to make it 25 days of training. According to the source, he made around K120 000 for the company during the training. “For every call an agent picks at the Call Center, Airtel Malawi pays K60 so I received about 2000 call during the days I spent for training. “We were only given lunch for the first 15 days and nothing during the so called on-job training. It is really pathetic to be used as such and the dumped. They take granted for our wants of job opportunities, it is really sad,” the source said.

At first, said the source, the officials said they have no space for new employees but they were still recruiting more trainees. “Later, we just heard that they have fired others just to create more room for free labor,” the source said. Chipiriro Chirwa could not be reached for comment as he was repeatedly reported to be busy.

But a top official who did not want to be named agreed that there are a lot of former trainees who are yet to be employed. “Currently, the volume of calls is low that why the company felt they could not be employed but when all is well, they will be called,” said the source. Out of 178 agents the company employed, 47 were fired. It is also believed that the company (Tech Mahindra) uses cheap labour in India and planned to do the same here in Malawi. Tech Mahindra is part of the US $7.1 billion Mahindra Group, in partnership with British Telecommunications plc (BT), one of the world’s leading communications service providers.

Focused primarily on the telecommunications industry, Tech Mahindra is a leading global systems integrator and business transformation consulting organization. Tech Mahindra has recently expanded its IT portfolio by acquiring the leading global business and information technology services company, Mahindra Satyam (earlier known as Satyam Computer Services)

© 2012, Timothy Ntilosanje. All rights reserved. – The views expressed here are purely those of the author and not necessarily those of the publishers. – Newstime Africa content cannot be reproduced in any form – electronic or print – without prior consent of the Publishers. Copyright infringement will be pursued and perpetrators prosecuted.

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