Trade union Solidarity has declared a dispute with Telkom regarding the telecom giant’s section 189 retrenchment process.
This follows retrenchment notices sent by Telkom to 105 of its employees, who could not be placed in alternative posts in the company, on 1 October 2014.
According to Marius Croucamp, head of the communication industry in Solidarity, the trade union advised Telkom to retract the retrenchment notices and to first finalise the appointments that have to be made following the previous round of job advertisements.
According to Croucamp, Solidarity is expecting a response from Telkom regarding the retraction of the notices today.
“Should Telkom refuse to retract the notice, we will approach the Labour Court and indicate that Telkom is contravening section 189 of the Labour Relations Act,” said Croucamp.
Approximately 676 employees affected by Telkom’s section 189 retrenchment process have been placed in alternative posts within Telkom, while 302 employees took voluntary severance packages.
The Communication Workers Union on Friday also demanded that Telkom retract the letters.
The two unions are at odds over the retrenchment process, however, with the CWU claiming that “the majority of positions that are not affected are those of whites, while the black majority is being retrenched.”
Solidarity, meanwhile, has lambasted Telkom in the media for using race-based criteria – which would put white workers at a disadvantage – which the group said is illegal.
Employment equity is one of the four criteria applied to the restructuring, Telkom said, adding that just like any South African company it is required to comply with the Employment Equity Act.
Telkom spokesman Pynee Chetty said last week that its restructuring was undertaken with “a commitment to consult and engage with all our labour representatives, at the appropriate and necessary junctures”.