Unions march against labour brokers

2009-12-19 16:09

Johannesburg - Unions marched to Telkom's head office in Pretoria on Saturday demanding an end to labour broking in the communication sector, a spokesperson said.

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) was joined by Gauteng provincial officials from the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) and the Young Communist League (YCL).

Fewer people arrived than originally expected.

"Less than 1 000 arrived, much fewer than the 2 000 expected," CWU's Gauteng deputy chair, Aubrey Tshabalala told Sapa.

Cosatu Gauteng chairperson Phutas Tseki and his deputy, Sicelo Gcabashe, as well as YCL Gauteng provincial secretary Alex Mashilo addressed the crowd.

They handed a memorandum to Telkom Employee Relations Manager Sachu Naidoo.

Telecommunications giants Vodacom and MTN were also invited to collect memorandums, but were not present, Tshabalala said.

Their memorandums were given to Naidoo.

The protest moved to the SA Post Office (Sapo) Pretoria offices as well, but no-one was there to receive them.

"Notice was given a week ago and they did acknowledge receipt of it. They knew that we were coming," he said.

According to Tshabalala, Sapo CEO Charlotte Motswaledi had postponed meetings with the union three times already, the latest on December 14.


"It is not really surprising that the post office did not pitch," he said.

"It shows their level of arrogance."

The unions called for the dismissal of Motswaledi.

"She has failed to transform the company," Tshabalala said.

They also demanded that the contract of Telkom CEO Eric September should not be renewed when his term was completed.

"He was purely window-dressing," Tshabalala said. "If you look at what he has done, he is a disgrace to society."

The march also called for a complete ban on labour broking in the information technology and communications sectors.

According to Tshabalala, labour broker employees are paid less than permanent employees, do not enjoy benefits such as medical aid subsidies and work in unacceptable conditions. 

'Pure racism'

"At the post office, they are not given uniform or even raincoats when it rains, so they have to deliver letters in the rain," Tshabalala said.

Unions decried the lack of equity in terms of employment, which they called "pure racism".

"There is no fair transformation. This is what workers themselves have raised - both black and white," Tshabalala said.

Companies are also accused of using the recession as a pretext to retrench and then using labour brokers instead of permanent employees to escape their responsibilities under the Labour Act.

"MTN is number seven in the world as the most successful company. They have no reason to retrench," Tshabalala said.

"They are using the recession as an excuse. We find that unacceptable," he said.