Over 1 000 at Telkom hit by outsourcing move

By Drum Digital
30 April 2015

Johannesburg - A total of 1 169 employees at Telkom have been affected by the telecom company’s outsourcing measures.

This is according to figures provided by Telkom to Fin24.

In February, Telkom announced restructuring at the company which would see it outsource its call centres, IT legacy systems, internal printing and supply chain. The company also entered into a section 197 process - a part of labour law that deals with transferring staff.

Trade union Solidarity released a statement on Thursday saying that over 1 000 staff members at Telkom have been affected by the process.

And in response to questions from Fin24, Telkom said that of 1 169 staff affected by this process, 728 have accepted voluntary severance packages while, 441 have been transferred to other companies.

Certain staff members who were close to retirement opted for severance packages rather than being transferred, Solidarity said in a statement on Thursday.

On Wednesday, Telkom released a trading statement saying it has made a provision for retrenchment and voluntary severance packages of approximately R591m.

While voluntary severance packages and transfers have been offered to staff affected by Telkom’s outsourcing measures, the future of employees at the company’s Direct stores hangs in the balance.

As part of Telkom’s restructuring plans, the company announced in February that it intends shutting down 20 of its Telkom Direct stores across the country.

Job cuts are expected at Telkom Direct stores as the telecoms company has entered into a Section 189 process which is a part of labour law that deals with retrenchments.

“The CCMA (Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration) facilitated Section 189 consultation process between Telkom and organised labour regarding the proposed closure of the 20 nonviable Telkom Direct stores continues,” Jacqui O’ Sullivan, Telkom’s head of group communication and public relations, told Fin24.

But Solidarity says it’s in a bid to save its members’ jobs.

“We believe there are sufficient alternatives for those affected by the process,” said Marius Croucamp, head of Solidarity’s Communications Industry. “We have urged Telkom to consider these alternatives before taking definite action in the form of a forced retrenchment process,” said Croucamp.

Solidarity said its consultations with Telkom have resulted in the telecoms company agreeing to “discuss several alternatives” such as offering of voluntary severance packages and placing employees in vacant positions.

The union adds that a task team has also been appointed to discuss the latter option. In addition, Solidarity plans to establish the formation of a task team to address the future of the Direct stores.

Telkom has confirmed that it’s been in discussions with unions, but that a conclusion is yet to be reached.

“The parties have engaged in a number of consultations where, amongst others, deliberations on alternatives to retrenchment were explored. Telkom’s commitment, throughout these discussions, is to conduct this difficult process with respect to both the letter and the spirit of South Africa’s labour laws. Telkom has and will continue to follow all due process, to ensure the fair and transparent management of this critical turnaround initiative,” O’Sullivan told Fin24.

“An update on the outcome of the consultations will be provided once they have been concluded,” she added.

Source: Fin24


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