Telkom sending workers to their “economic death”

Trade union Solidarity is questioning Telkom’s ‘backwards logic’ through its plan to cut 7,800 workers and hire some back as contractors.

Telkom announced last week that it plans to retrench 4,400 employees through Voluntary Severance Packages and Voluntary Early Retirement Packages, and to transfer an additional 3,400 employees to other companies.

However, according to Solidarity, Telkom has indicated that it needs the services of approximately 7,200 employees.

“If the company’s restructuring plans are realized, Telkom’s workforce will eventually consist of about 4,000 employees. Therefore, Telkom has indicated that the workers will provide the rest of the services to Telkom as contractors,” the union said.

“It makes no sense to get rid of skilled employees with specialised knowledge, only to sign contracts with them later to obtain their services again,” said Marius Croucamp, head of Solidarity’s Communications Industry.

Solidarity and other unions are set to engage with Telkom on the retrenchments in the coming days.

Of main concern to Solidarity is Telkom’s intention to force employees into an economic situation without the necessary information they need to make proper decisions, with the uncertainty surrounding retrenchments exacerbating an already strained working environment.

“Telkom professes that it is creating new opportunities for its employees who supposedly may be able to establish their own businesses and then to do work for Telkom under contract,” the group said.

“However, Telkom has not disclosed sufficient information on its so-called Enterprise Development Plan to its employees and the trade unions.”

“Some of the call centres now have to operate with less than half the number of employees while the same outputs are expected from them…employees have to work under immense pressure in uncertain circumstances.”

Further, the union is looking to push the implementation date back to make room for adequate consultation and to establish work groups for affected employees.

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Telkom sending workers to their “economic death”