Telkom wage dispute sent to CCMA

The trade union, Solidarity, has referred a dispute to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) after wage negotiations between unions and Telkom ended in a deadlock.

Unions rejected Telkom’s final wage offer of a 1.5% increase, which is some way off their demands of 8.8%.

Telkom has been in consultation with recognised unions – CWU, the SA Communication Union, and Solidarity.

Solidarity spokesperson Marius Croucamp, said wage negotiations with Telkom had started in March, and after five rounds of negotiations, it had made no progress.

“Solidarity is demanding a wage increase of 8.8%. It is based on the consumer price index of 5.8% plus 3%. We are more than willing to negotiate with Telkom and would submit any reasonable offer from the employer to our members,” he said in a statement on Tuesday.

The date on which the CCMA would hear the case, is not yet known.

Meanwhile, Solidarity says it is still in talks with Telkom about the voluntary severance and early retirement packages offered earlier this year for the company’s entire workforce of approximately 21,000 employees.

Telkom announced on 11 March that management and bargaining unit staff would be afforded the opportunity of applying for voluntary severance packages (VSPs) and early retirement packages (VERPs) from 15 March 2013 until 31 August 2013.

Telkom is under pressure to reduce its head count as it looks to trim costs and plot a new way forward.

In its most recent reporting period for the six months ended September 2012, Telkom noted that employee expenses amounted to R4.74 billion, and for the year ended March 2012, the group’s employee expenses reached R8.64 billion.

Telkom advised in April that headline earnings per share for the year ended March 2013 are expected to be at least 20% lower than the 324.7 cents recorded in the prior year.

The group will publish its results next month (14 June).

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Telkom wage dispute sent to CCMA