Unions vow to fight Telkom

Johannesburg – Trade unions Solidarity and Communication Workers Union (CWU) say they are prepared to fight to save 560 jobs on the line at Telkom.

CWU secretary general Aubrey Tshabalala said it was “ambushed” into a meeting with Telkom management yesterday where it was told of plans to outsource 260 jobs and the retrench 300 workers.

“We plan to challenge this process as they are using the current economic climate as an excuse to cut jobs,” said Tshabalala.

Added to CWU’s grievances is government’s lack of intervention at Telkom as a shareholder, it says. Government has a 39 percent stake in Telkom, while the Public Investment Corporation also owns a share, making these two entities combined the single biggest shareholder in the operator.

“We will announce the date when we will march to Luthuli House as the ANC has done nothing about Telkom, engagements with them have proven fruitless,” added Tshabalala.

Solidarity said it plans to challenge the job cuts through engagement processes with the telecommunications company.

Read also: Telkom to cut 500 more jobs

“This is the tenth consecutive year that Telkom is downsizing jobs by means of either retrenchments or offering severance packages.

“We will fight for our worker’s jobs though consultation processes with Telkom,” said solidarity deputy secretary general Marius Croucamp.

Jacqui O’Sullivan, Telkom spokesperson, said the latest decision is part of its multi-year turnaround plan.

She said the first Commission for Communication Mediation and Arbitration-facilitated consultation on Section 189 retrenchment process will begin on March 8.

In a statement, Telkom CEO Sipho Maseko said the company had made progress in its turnaround strategy in the past two years.

“We have to improve the way we work and how we deliver products and services to our customers. Our new operating model is driving this and while these changes are never easy, the streamlining of our corporate centre is an important step in delivering a sustainable and growing Telkom,” Maseko explained.