News : CWU Threatens Telkom with Strike, Wants Boss Removed
Johannesburg, South Africa, March 30 2015 -- The Communication Workers Union (CWU) on Friday called for the removal of Telkom chief executive Sipho Maseko and threatened to hold "a mother of all strikes", which would shutdown the company.
The CWU held a press briefing on Friday in response to last week’s reports that Telkom planned to proceed with staff transfers. The telecommunications group said it would go ahead with the automatic transfer of staff from its call centre, supply chain and informative technology at the end this month.
This comes after talks between Telkom and the CWU fell through, with the CWU withholding its majority consent on voluntary severance and early retirement packages. This was despite the other two unions, South African Communication Union (Sacu) and Solidarity, agreeing on the move.
Telkom’s spokeswoman Jacqui O’Sullivan said that without the agreement in place from a majority consent, Telkom would have to proceed with the automatic transfers as planned at the end of this month.
The CWU said the union had indicated that its members were extremely unhappy and disapproved of the move. "Now this type of approach is something to which we take strong exception as it undermines the collective agreement we have with the company and is an attempt to wish away the union as the legitimate representative and voice of workers," the CWU said.
The union said it was incensed by the intended outsourcing of certain business units to private service providers.
"Such a conduct would centrally constitute a unilateral and unlawful change to workers’ terms and conditions of employment and will put the workers and their beneficiaries at a disadvantage of unspeakable proportions," it said.
The CWU, which has already started a number of go-slows and picketing at some of Telkom’s branches, said it was preparing for a strike that would cause a total shutdown of the group.
"Following a nationwide consultation with our members, we shall unleash the organised power of our members on the streets in defence of their jobs and their future."
The union has asked for the removal of Telkom’s executive team. "We call for the removal of Maseko and his management clique at Telkom and for a moratorium of all outsourcing and retrenchments processes until genuine consultation is held to consider other options for the company," said the CWU.
Telkom also plans to continue with its section 189 consultations regarding the shutdown of 20 Telkom Direct stores.
The union added Telkom workers had suffered too much of a bloodbath since the restructuring process started, from some 80 000 workers to 18 000. "Our country can therefore ill-afford the shedding of more jobs at this stage."
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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About Telkom South Africa:
Telkom SA SOC Ltd. is a wireline and wireless telecommunications provider in South Africa, and operating in more than 38 countries across the African continent. Telkom is a semi-privatised, 39% state-owned company.
About Communication Workers Union:
The Communication Workers Union (CWU) is the main trade union in the United Kingdom for people working for telephone, cable, DSL and postal delivery companies. It has 204,500 members.
Published: Tuesday, March 31, 2015