News : Union Takes Telkom to Court
Johannesburg, S. Africa, Feb 25, 2015 -- The Information Communication and Technology Union (ICTU) has taken Telkom to court to ensure it is involved in Telkom's latest restructuring process.
Last week, Telkom told its 18 500 staff members it would again implement a "turnaround strategy" to "unlock efficiencies". This comes after it retrenched over 300 managers and 480 call centre staff last year, and 1 800 employees voluntarily parted ways with the company a few years ago.
Telkom's current restructuring will see 20 Telkom Direct stores closed, affecting 102 staff, while its call centre operation, warehousing and legacy IT systems will be moved to an outsourced provider. Its rightsizing was discussed during a consultation process facilitated by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration on Friday.
The Johannesburg Labour Court ordered that the consultation process could not continue without the ICTU's involvement. The union, which claims to solve "old problems with innovate ideas" has reportedly issued a statement in which it argues the court order halts the retrenchment and outsourcing process.
According to eNCA, the union claims that the court stopped all current proceedings. Spokesman Thabang Mothelo is quoted as saying: "As we will be going back to the table we will make it clear to Telkom that their plan to sell and retrench is opposed by ICTU unapologetically."
However, the ruling indicates that ICTU is allowed to take part in the consultation process, which cannot proceed without its presence. It is not known how many members ICTU has at Telkom. ICTU lodged the application against Telkom and its three recognised unions.
Currently, the Communications Workers' Union (CWU), the South African Communications Union and Solidarity are recognised unions by the telco because of their representation levels.
Telkom has responded to the media reports, noting it is disappointed that the ICTU has "chosen to completely misrepresent the facts" in the order. It says its "restructuring process has not in any way been halted by the order".
Neither Telkom nor the other three unions opposed the order, and the ICTU will be included in all the current formal consultation processes, once the formal consultation process begins.
"Telkom is committed to following the letter of the law in the execution of its turnaround strategy. In line with the law," says Telkom. It notes the ICTU was invited to a meeting on Friday, but the CWU objected to its presence as it is not recognised as a union.
"In line with the law, the ICTU will be included in the formal consultations," says Telkom.
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: Friday, February 27, 2015