Telkom in mass voluntary retrenchment offer to its workforce

Telkom has offered voluntary retrenchments to a large portion of its workforce on Friday.

Telkom CEO Sipho Maseko has provided an update on the consultation process with unions regarding the company’s restructuring plans.

the company said that it faced a situation where the unions have blocked all its attempts to have meaningful discussions with them.

“Our staff deserve the necessary information to help them to make informed decisions, but to date the unions have not allowed this by employing a number of delaying tactics,” the company said.

The ongoing struggles with unions means that Telkom changed its approach, with Maseko releasing the following letter to staff.

  Dear Colleagues,

    Update on OL discussions: S189, S197 and VSPs / VERPs

    Yesterday’s CCMA facilitated discussion with Organised Labour (OL) regarding the proposed restructuring to the Corporate Centre once again yielded no progress.

    We were disappointed that, once again, the unions were unwilling to allow a discussion on our Section 189 processes.

    In an attempt to advance the discussions we shared over 200 pages of the relevant information with the unions on Monday evening, hoping that the additional time would be used to study the content ahead of yesterday’s meeting. Some of you may have seen the information passed on to you by your union.
    Yesterday we were unfortunately not given the opportunity to present any of that content, which once again leaves us in the frustrating position of not being allowed to legally share the new operating model structures, our rational for the processes, or the alternate options we would like to offer to the unions.

    This is an untenable situation. We are listening to you. We hear your anxieties and we know that many of you want to plan your next steps and understand when this restructuring will end. We want to give you the clarity which we believe you deserve, but some unions are determined to delay meaningful discussion.

    So today we are going to move this forward. We are going to do this legally and we are doing this now, so that we give as many of you the next two weeks to think through your options.

    Corporate Centre Staff affected by the Section 197 process to WNS:

    The Section 197 outsourcing process is an automatic transfer, from the old employer to a new employer and the staff in scope will transfer to WNS on 1 May 2016.

    That transfer will proceed. SACU has agreed that its members within the scope of this transaction will be given the option to apply for a VSP/VERP as an alternative to transferring. This option will be on the existing, generous conditions previously offered to staff. We are still awaiting agreement from Solidarity and CWU in this regard.

    Non-Union members can, of course, still apply.

    We are aware that CWU have alleged that WNS is a Gupta owned company. In point of fact, WNS is a New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) listed company worth $1.5bn, with a fully transparent share ownership structure, as with any listed company.

    Corporate Centre Staff affected by the proposed S189 process:

    Many of you have indicated to us that you would like to choose a VSP/VERP, rather than face the potential retrenchment option.

    In the information we shared with OL on Monday, we indicated our desire to make available to all staff affected by the S189 process, the opportunity to consider a VSP/VERP alternative. Unfortunately, as the unions have not given us the opportunity to discuss this option with them, we are unable to accept any application for a VSP/VERP, by the affected staff in the Corporate Centre.

    As the S189 process requires consultation with OL, the law prohibits us for extending this VSP and VERP to all affected staff, unionised and non-unionised until the unions agree to it.

    To the staff affected by the Section 189 process, we are committed to making a VSP and VERP option available to you. However, this will only be possible once the unions have agreed to the discussion and have agreed to allow us to accept any applications.

    You may, however, request a VSP/VERP on the system, and we will log this request and work with the unions to gain agreement to processing the request during our next consultation.

    Staff unaffected by the Section 189 and Section 197 processes:

    In 2015 you will recall we indicated that we would not be offering a VSP or VERP option on the same generous grounds again. Our economic reality changed significantly in the course of December and that very demanding climate requires us to act quickly and with focus, so that we can make the much-needed Telkom transition from turnaround and restructuring to growth and development.

    Delaying tactics on the part of some unions is not helping us achieve that goal. We also have listened to you, our people. Many of you have asked for a final opportunity to review your options.

    So it is in this context that from noon today we will make available to all staff unaffected by the Section 197 and the Section 189 process the option for a VSP and VERP. The offer of VSP/VERPs is made on the same terms and conditions as that of last year.

    Once again, the VSP and VERP offer is subject to management discretion. We will not allow the loss of critical skills. Our previous VSP and VERP processes were extensive, so some areas will be given less room to reduce than others as our focus on improving our customer experience remains paramount.

    All the relevant information will be made available on the “Our new operating model” pages on the intranet from noon today, which will include details on how to apply if you are on leave over the next few days.

    All VSP and VERP will be available and open from 12:00 18 March 2016 until 17:00 31 March 2016.

    I would like to thank you for your understanding on this. We will continue to manage this process in the best interest of our people, our customers, our business and our shareholders.

    Best regards,
    Sipho Maseko


More on Telkom

Telkom plan to transfer hundreds of workers faces opposition

Telkom to cut workforce by 40%: report

More Telkom retrenchments on the way: union

Must Read

Partner Content

Show comments

Trending Now

Follow Us

Telkom in mass voluntary retrenchment offer to its workforce