Telkom delays outsourcing date

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Telkom is restructuring its business. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)
Telkom is restructuring its business. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)

Cape Town - Telecoms network Telkom has pushed forward the date on which it plans to transfer staff affected by its outsourcing plans by one month.

Earlier this year, Telkom announced that it is set to outsource its call centres, IT legacy systems, internal printing and the supply chain segments of its business as part of a restructuring process.

Subsequently, Telkom and unions entered talks about voluntary severance and retirement packages. The telecoms operator also entered a Section 197 process, which deals with the transfer of businesses and their employees.

At first, the South African Communications Union and Solidarity accepted the terms of the packages, which would involve staff being transferred on April 30.

But the Communications Workers Union (CWU) then declined the offer, and Telkom's talks with the unions fell through as the parties failed to reach a consensus.

Telkom then announced last week that it would go ahead with its outsourcing processes on March 31 amid the failure to reach a consensus.

However, Telkom now says that it has pushed forward its plan to commence outsourcing to April 30 after the CWU decided to accept the severance and retirement packages.

“The staff will now transfer on April 30 and not March 31,” Telkom managing executive for group communication and public relations Jacqui O'Sullivan told Fin24.

“This additional month was also part of the original offer that was made to all unions. It was taken off the table when the offer was withdrawn when the CWU declined, but Sipho Maseko (Telkom CEO) discussed it with his team this weekend and it was agreed that we would wait another month.

“Sipho feels the additional month would help our people adjust and prepare for the transfer,” O’Sullivan said.

However, the CWU still needs to sign the final offer from Telkom for the agreement to be formalised.

“We are encouraged by this but we will also require the CWU to sign a variation agreement with us, to legalise the offer. We hope this variation agreement will be signed shortly,” O’Sullivan said.

On Tuesday morning, the CWU had not yet signed the agreement, O'Sullivan told Fin24.

Fin24 could not reach CWU officials for comment.

Apart from entering into a Section 197 process to outsource parts of its operation, Telkom also plans to shut down 20 of its Direct stores.

Jobs are on the line regarding its store closures as Telkom has entered a Section 189 process on this matter, which deals with retrenchments.

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