Cell C considers job cuts

Johannesburg - More job losses may hit the local telecommunications sector as mobile network Cell C is starting consultations around possible retrenchments.

Cell C’s rivals Telkom and MTN have been carrying out restructuring and retrenchment processes.

Cell C is South Africa’s third largest mobile network with approximately 20 million users.

“Cell C confirms that it has commenced the process of consultation in respect of possible retrenchments,” Cell C’s head of communications Karin Fourie told Fin24 in an emailed statement.

“At this time, and subject to consultation with the affected employees, this process could affect up to 47 employees whether through retrenchment or redeployment.

“The process followed is in line with the Labour Relations Act and the company is acting responsibly,” said Fourie.

Meanwhile, labour union Solidarity's head of the communications industry, Marius Croucamp, says that his union has written a notice to Cell C on Thursday to ask for consultations on the matter.

"In terms of past experience, they (Cell C) have engaged with us when there were retrenchments in the past,” Croucamp told Fin24.

"We have more than 100 members at Cell C. Exactly how many are affected, we still don't know,” said Croucamp.

Solidarity has also been in discussions with Telkom over that telecom company’s restructuring process.

Over 1 000 employees at Telkom have already been affected by an outsourcing move this year, while the company is also undergoing a retrenchment process for certain staff at its Direct stores.

"It's an industry that is downsizing its staff in general. Business has gone down. They had a captured market in South Africa. There are four big role players and it would appear that there's not enough space for all big four role players. Particularly Cell C is vulnerable - they are up for sale at the moment,” said Croucamp.

Cell C’s parent company Oger Telecom has reportedly tasked Goldman Sachs with advising on a possible sale of the South African mobile network.

However, Cell C has not publicly commented on the reports of the possible sale.

In February, Cell C announced that it increased revenue 16% year-on-year for the financial year ended December 2014.

The mobile network at the time also said that its subscriber base grew 44% year-on-year to reach 19.6 million, buoyed by a 45% increase in prepaid subscribers and a 29% increase in the number of customers purchasing data.

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