Alleged Tax Evasion Tactics, Unfair Labor Practices and Delayed Payments at StarTimes Kenya

StarTimes Kenya is under fire following revelations of alleged tax evasion tactics and unfair labor practices.

A source has disclosed troubling details about the company’s operations, particularly the exploitation of call center agents recruited through an agency called Temps for Hire Services.

According to the source, the company does not directly recruit call center agents.

Instead, an agency called Temps for Hire Services handles the recruitment.

This arrangement allegedly helps Startimes evade tax obligations.

The payment issues for call center agents are another major concern.

Initially, agents were paid between the 1st and 5th of every month.

However, due to persistent delays, the payment dates were shifted to between the 15th and 20th.

Despite this change, delays continue to plague the system.

Working conditions for call center agents are reportedly harsh.

Agents earn between Ksh 13,500 and Ksh 18,000 gross with bonuses subject to taxation.

The bonuses meant to provide extra income are often inadequate due to tax deductions.

The lack of sufficient workstations adds to the stress.

Agents must handle extensive Excel sheets and over 100 inbound calls using inferior-quality computers.

“Hi Nyakundi. There’s also StarTimes Media Company. StarTimes doesn’t directly recruit call center agents. There’s an agency called Temps for Hire Services that does that for them. Every other time there’s a delayed payment issue. Initially, Temps used to pay call center agents from the 1st of every month, latest the 5th. They couldn’t manage this and now had to change the payment dates from the 1st-5th to between the 15th-20th. Still, they couldn’t manage. We couldn’t tell if the problem is at the agency level or from Startimes because Startimes employees have never had any delayed payments. The gross for a call center agent ranges from Ksh 13,500 to 18,000. Then there’s bonuses that are subject to taxation. Mimi hujua that range of earning bonuses is tax-exempt. Then there’s an issue of workstations, not enough PCs there and remember you have a login time that if you fail to login at that time you’ll have a work deficit. The PCs there run on 2GB RAM and you’re handling Excel sheets as big as 100MB, over 100 inbound calls. With all that you are expected to achieve your daily call targets. As we speak, over 15 guys have quit. There’s no break for inbound agents, it’s straight 8/7/6 hours of sitting and straight talking. So about evading tax, a guy there had an issue with his bank card. He went to the Upperhill branch to have it fixed. So as he was being helped, they had a chit-chat with the guys there. They told him Startimes has not more than 10 formally known employees; the rest are not recognized.”

The use of an external agency for recruitment and payment appears to be a tactic that complicates accountability making it difficult to ascertain where the payment issues originate.

As the story develops, we will continue to seek more information from employees and insiders at StarTimes Kenya to understand the full scope of the company’s operational and ethical practices.

Stay tuned for more.


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