Telkom to oppose unions’ court bid

Johannesburg - Telkom is hitting back at three unions' bid to halt a retrenchment process at the telecommunications company.

In June, Telkom announced that it intends to cut 4 400 jobs through voluntary severance packages or voluntary early retirement packages and that 3 400 employees will be transferred to outsourced companies as part of an enterprise development programme.

Unions have criticised the move. Furthermore, talks between unions and Telkom on the matter fell through last month.

Subsequently, trade union Solidarity said on Wednesday that it plans to take its fight against the retrenchment of thousands of Telkom workers to the Labour Court.

The union added that it is seeking an urgent interdict against a retrenchment process at Telkom.

In a statement issued to Fin24 on Thursday, Telkom said that two other unions have joined Solidarity in seeking to interdict talks facilitated by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) due to start on July 8.

“Telkom has taken note of the application launched by Solidarity, the Communication Workers Union and the South African Communication Union in an attempt to interdict the consultation meeting scheduled for 8 July 2015,” said Sinah Phochana, Telkom’s executive for PR Corporate.

“The company believes that there is no merit in the urgent application launched by the three unions and is in the process of preparing opposing papers.

“Telkom is confident that it has to date followed a fair process, including engaging the three unions and sharing information with them, prior to issuing a s189 notice. The company is of the view that the section 189 consultation process, which is to be facilitated by CCMA commissioners commencing on 8 July 2015, should be allowed to go ahead and address the important challenges that the company needs to address,” added Phochana.

Telkom is shedding jobs as its core fixed-line business comes under threat.

According to Telkom’s annual results for the period ending March 31 2015, Telkom's total number of fixed access lines, which includes voice users, fell 4.9% from 3.618 million to 3.439 million for the full year ending March 2015.

In addition, Telkom’s fixed-line voice usage revenue decreased 13.5% during the period to R6.867bn from R7.934bn in March 2014.

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