News : Telkom Ditches 480 Call Centre Staff
Dec 17, 2014 -- Following reports that a labour dispute involving contract workers in Telkom’s call centre was looming, the company has told 480 contract call centre staff whose contracts were not renewed not to come back to work.
"The company has decided that, in the interest of all parties concerned, your continued services will no longer be required after the completion of your shift today," Telkom said in a letter to contractors on Friday, 12 December 2014.
Workers would be paid out the remainder of their contracts, whether they end in December 2014, January 2015, or March 2015, Telkom said.
Some staff who were handed letters told MyBroadband that they were forcefully removed from the Telkom premises at 12:30 on Friday.
However, Telkom disputes this version of events.
"Security was on hand to collect security access cards and to ensure the safety and security of all our people and our property," said Telkom’s Jacqui O’Sullivan.
"People were treated with dignity and respect," O’Sullivan added. "Any claims to the contrary are simply untrue."
Questioned as to why Telkom decided to ask the workers not to come back, O’Sullivan said they had received several threats of vandalism and disruption since telling the temporary call centre staff in November that their contracts would not be renewed.
"Last week an incident of theft and vandalism to Telkom property was experienced which is believed to be linked to this process," O’Sullivan said.
Further questioned on how the call centre functions these staff performed were fulfilled from 12:30 on Friday, O’Sullivan said that Telkom was comfortable that it had sufficient capacity "within existing structures" to manage queries and call volumes.
Queried on whether it expected union backlash, and how it would handle any backlash, O’Sullivan said that the process had been undertaken in a fair and legal manner, with all due consultation including that with organised labour.
"Additionally, organised labour is aware of Telkom’s turnaround efforts and the requirement for such a prudent and necessary business decision, at this time," she added.
"Telkom meets regularly with organised labour to discuss company matters — any disputes will be managed at these forums," O’Sullivan said.
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.
Published: Thursday, December 18, 2014