Good news from South African ISPs about salary cuts and retrenchments

The COVID-19 pandemic and prolonged lockdown have wrecked many businesses and industries, including tourism, restaurants, and airlines.

Not all industries were affected equally. The change in behaviour caused by the pandemic, like working-from-home and online meetings, had an upside for many tech companies.

Internet service providers (ISPs) are one of the industries which experienced an increase in demand after the lockdown started on 27 March.

A fast and stable Internet connection forms the foundation of a good work-from-home environment, and ISP sales teams have seen an influx of new orders.

There was, however, also a downside. Many small- and medium-sized businesses closed their doors during the lockdown, which meant they could not pay their ISP bills.

The uptick in new subscriptions for ISPs was therefore offset by companies and residential customers asking for payment holidays or cancelling their services.

To determine what impact the lockdown and the COVID-19 pandemic had on ISPs, MyBroadband spoke to South Africa’s top service providers.

What emerged from these discussions is that ISP employees’ jobs are secure and that no salary cuts were necessary to date.

Webafrica Chief Commercial Officer Greg Wright said they are so busy that they had to pay staff extra for overtime to cope with demand.

Afrihost CEO Gian Visser told MyBroadband their top priority is to make sure that there are zero retrenchments because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Afrihost has also started a fund and other initiatives to assist staff who are facing challenges during this period.

Cool Ideas co-founder Paul Butschi said they have not had to cut any salaries and there are no plans to implement salary cuts in future.

Cybersmart founder Laurie Fialkov said their staff is their biggest asset and that they ensured that their employees are financially secure and do not have to worry about salary cuts or retrenchments.

“We cannot predict the future, but for now our employees are not impacted by the lockdown,” said Fialkov.

The table below provides an overview of feedback from ISPs about the impact of the lockdown on their businesses.

Impact of COVID-19 on ISPs
Afrihost
Work from home Yes – 95% of staff work from home
Salary cuts No
Staff retrenchments No
Future staff cuts No – “Our top priority is to make sure that there are zero retrenchments”
Cipherwave
Work from home Yes – Most staff work from home
Salary cuts No
Staff retrenchments No
Future staff cuts Not currently on the cards
Cool Ideas
Work from home Yes – Most staff members work from home
Salary cuts No
Staff retrenchments No
Future staff cuts Not currently on the cards
Cybersmart
Work from home Yes – Most employees work at home, except staff who have to fix faults and perform other technical tasks
Salary cuts No
Staff retrenchments No
Future staff cuts No – Staff should not be impacted at all
MWEB
Work from home No comment
Salary cuts No comment
Staff retrenchments No comment
Future staff cuts No comment
RSAWEB
Work from home Yes – All employees work from home, except a handful of essential staff
Salary cuts No
Staff retrenchments No
Future staff cuts Not currently on the cards
Supersonic
Work from home Yes – All employees work from home, aside from the technical teams
Salary cuts No
Staff retrenchments No
Future staff cuts Not at this stage. However, the next 3 months are crucial
Webafrica
Work from home Yes – 95% of employees work from home
Salary cuts No
Staff retrenchments No
Future staff cuts Not currently on the cards

Now read: How Afrihost launched a winning lockdown campaign

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Good news from South African ISPs about salary cuts and retrenchments