'We're bleeding': Canary Wharf firm gets MP support in Bangladesh battle
PUBLISHED: 16:31 03 June 2014 | UPDATED: 17:02 03 June 2014
A telecoms firm in Canary Wharf that is having to sack staff due to its ongoing legal fight with Bangladesh's state telecoms provider has received backing from its local MP.
Zamir Telecom (ZT), which handles calls from London to Bangladesh, says the Bangladeshi government is trying to wreck its business to gain a monopoly of the telecoms industry, and is calling on the UK authorities for help.
State-run BTCL cut ZT off from its telecoms network in March for the second time in four years, claiming the company owed millions in unpaid fees.
But ZT disputes the charge, saying it has now suffered heavy financial losses for having to make arrangements with private companies on worse terms.
Naufal Zamir, 38, managing director of ZT, said: “We’re very unhappy with what is going on. We’re bleeding. We had to make redundancies of three or four people last week, and it’s very difficult.”
The disconnection, which breached a court ruling against the move, was ordered by Bangladeshi telecoms minister Abdul Latif Siddique, a controversial figure who was Minister for Textiles during last year’s Rana Plaza factory collapse that killed 1,000 garment workers.
A request by ZT for judges to force BTCL to reconnect them will be ruled on in the coming weeks, but staff at ZT worry about government interference with the process due to Mr Siddique’s meddling.
Jim Fitzpatrick MP backed the firm this week, calling ZT a “local success story” that is being treated unfairly.
He said: “The company has had court judgements in its favour previously and has the support of the UK government in this present situation.
“I and my office will do all we can to assist Zamir to resolve these problems to protect the company and its staff, who are facing real financial difficulty if common sense doesn’t prevail.”
ZT hopes the UK government will pressure Bangladesh into agreeing to neutral arbitration in Switzerland or the US.
BTCL did not respond to requests for comment.