Union asks Telkom to put stay on job cuts

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SOL­I­DAR­ITY has ad­dressed a let­ter to Telkom ask­ing for a mora­to­rium on forced re­trench­ments. This comes af­ter the com­pany no­ti­fied unions that up to 3 000 work­ers, in­clud­ing many in the North­ern Cape, could be re­trenched.

Ac­cord­ing to Sol­i­dar­ity, re­trench­ments be­come nec­es­sary when the sus­tain­abil­ity of a com­pany is at is­sue, but, the union added, this re­trench­ment round threat­ened the com­pany’s fi­nan­cial sus­tain­abil­ity.

“A com­pany can­not pay its ex­ec­u­tive team more than R100 mil­lion and then get rid of 3 000 of its work­force. That is reck­less and, given the labour mar­ket re­trenched work­ers have to face, it is mer­ci­less. In the pre­vi­ous fi­nan­cial year Telkom’s CEO, Sipho Maseko, alone took home a full R23 mil­lion,” Dr Dirk

Hermann, Sol­i­dar­ity CEO said.

Sol­i­dar­ity is re­quest­ing that an ag­gres­sive re­train­ing pro­gramme be im­ple­mented dur­ing the mora­to­rium so work­ers can be equipped with new skills to help Telkom grow in the fast-chang­ing in­for­ma­tion en­vi­ron­ment. Telkom work­ers must move for­ward with the com­pany from fixed-line ser­vices to mo­bile ser­vices.

Hermann con­tended that the fact that Telkom now wants to re­trench up to 3 000 peo­ple serves as con­fir­ma­tion that the com­pany has failed dis­mally to re­train its peo­ple so that Telkom can grow even faster in its growth ar­eas such as mo­bile ser­vices.

“When a com­pany fails to train its work­force for new chal­lenges, it should not re­trench the work­ers; it should get rid of the top man­age­ment,” said Hermann.

He pointed out that Telkom’s work­force had al­ready shrunk by 2 176 or 12.5% in the pre­vi­ous fi­nan­cial year. “This was not due to forced re­trench­ments but mainly be­cause of vol­un­tary sev­er­ance pack­ages.”

Hermann said large-scale staff re­duc­tions at a com­pany can eas­ily lead to poor service de­liv­ery. “A fur­ther 3 000 jobs be­ing cut are too many. If staff num­bers need to be re­duced fur­ther, it can be done by means of vol­un­tary pro­cesses and nat­u­ral staff turnover.”

“The in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy en­vi­ron­ment is highly com­pet­i­tive and skilled work­ers are scarce. The un­cer­tainty Telkom is cre­at­ing will merely re­sult in the best work­ers leav­ing first. This can lead to the com­pany go­ing into a down­ward spi­ral.

“The mes­sage sent out by Telkom should rather be that loyal em­ploy­ees are ap­pre­ci­ated. A mora­to­rium on forced re­trench­ments will pro­vide the se­cu­rity that Telkom em­ploy­ees now need,” Hermann con­cluded.

Last year, Telkom auc­tioned off 34 com­mer­cial and in­dus­trial build­ings across the coun­try, in­clud­ing three in the North­ern Cape.

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