Telkom not consulting with unions

The South African Communications Union (Sacu) says it is officially in dispute with Telkom over its planned retrenchments, because the union believes it has not been properly consulted.

Telkom is planning to flatten its managerial and specialist structure, which should help to execute its turnaround strategy and help the company save R5 billion by 2019.

The telco began consultation with management staff and specialists regarding its planned restructuring and job cuts on Tuesday, 13 May.

It is anticipated that 2,635 management staff will be affected by the restructuring process, with Telkom intending to shrink its “management layer” by as much as 25%.

Sacu president, Michael Hare, noted that Telkom said that it expects up to 1,000 management job cuts over the next three years.

He told BusinessTech that he has written a formal letter to Telkom CEO, Sipho Maseko, and to the company board of directors.

He said that the company has refused to invite Sacu to its labour related meetings.

“They say they are consulting with unions, but they are not,” he said. “We are officially in dispute because they (Telkom) aren’t following due process. They flatly refuse to communicate with unions. They think they are above the law, but they are not.”

Hare said that Sacu represents approximately 3,900 workers at the telco, and 290 management staff.

Bloomberg reported that Telkom would consider “employment equity” when deciding who to dismiss, citing a document two labour unions claim they received from Telkom.

Employment equity seeks to promote equal opportunity and fair treatment in employment through elimination of unfair discrimination and implementing affirmative action measures.

This is to redress the disadvantages in employment experienced by designated groups, in order to ensure equitable representation in all occupational categories and levels in the workforce.

“Preference will be given to designated groups to be retained,” Marius Croucamp, a spokesman for worker union Solidarity, said in an interview with Bloomberg. “This means that white managers will be retrenched because of their skin colour.”

Hare said he was disappointed to hear such reports.

“Lets hope they aren’t making token appointments to beef up its employment equity status, or the company will fail.”

“Telkom confirms that it has received a letter from South African Communications Union (Sacu). The company will not be able to comment on the contents of the letter as it is still in consultation with Sacu,” Telkom said.

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Telkom not consulting with unions