Solidarity says it is concerned that Telkom is withholding certain details regarding its restructuring process, which the trade union says could affect almost half of Telkom’s workforce.
Solidarity claims that it received inside information that the entire process concerning section 197 and 189 notices issued by the telco this week could ultimately affect as many as 10,000 workers.
“We are still concerned about these rumours, especially since Telkom is keeping certain details from us,” said Marius Croucamp, head of Solidarity’s Communication Industry.
The union said that Telkom is planning on restructuring its field force division, however the telecoms firm denied this, although it did not say how many jobs were on the line.
On Monday (16 February) Telkom it aims to “unlock further cost efficiencies” within four areas of the business, namely, certain Telkom’s Direct Stores, Call Centres, IT Legacy Systems and internal printing and Supply Chain and Properties.
Telkom said it completed a stringent procurement process and identified external companies to undertake call centre operations, the management of IT legacy systems, a company to undertake the management of Telkom warehouses in the Supply Chain area of the business, as well as a company to take over internal printing activities.
The group said it had met with Organised Labour on Monday, while an official consultation process would begin on Friday (17 February).
“A Section 197 process has been initiated for staff impacted in these areas of the business. These affected employees will be transferred to their new employers in the coming months,” the telco said in a statement.
“Telkom will explore every option to place the affected employees impacted by this process in other areas of the business. Should such attempts be unsuccessful, some of the affected employees may unfortunately be retrenched,” it said.
However, Solidarity said that Telkom’s documents were short on detail.
“The section 189 and 197 notices that trade union Solidarity received from Telkom yesterday are filled with uncertainties and do not contain detail concerning the number of workers who will be affected by the respective processes, which is contrary to the specifications of the Labour Relations Act,” Croucamp said.
As part of its cost cutting measures, Telkom said that it is no longer viable to continue running some of its 95 Telkom Direct stores.
Croucamp said that the section 189 notice only refers to the possible closure of 20 Telkom Direct Stores, but fails to mention the number of affected employees.
“Furthermore, according to the section 189 notice the affected employees will not have the option of being redeployed within Telkom. Meanwhile, the section 197 notice simply states that Telkom has identified certain business portfolios that will be changed to achieve the key objectives of the company’s so-called turnaround strategy.”