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ICTU tackles Telkom over retrenchments

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Telkom is currently locked in a court tussle with the Information and Communication Technology Union (ICTU), over the telecommunication giant’s planned retrenchment of around 105 employees. This after the union suggested certain
“irregularities” within the company’s plans.

In late February, the ICTU announced that a planned employee cull, a part of Telkom’s ‘restructuring plans’, was halted by a court order from the Johannesburg Labour Court. Despite this, Telkom said the judgment would not in any way deter its plans, further accusing the union of misrepresenting the facts of the order.

According to ICTU spokesperson, Thabang Mothelo, amongst the major issues was that Telkom had already resolved to conduct retrenchments, prior to any consultation with the respective unions. As per the Labour Relations Act, employers are required to enter into a formal consultation process with registered unions, prior to any decision that would directly affect the employees.

And whilst Telkom did invite unions to discuss its restructuring plans, Mothelo claimed this was only done in order to comply with the act.

“This means that there is no union that is going to make a meaningful contribution to the process, or try to save the employee jobs,” he told VOC’s Breakfast Beat.

He also accused the company of failing to provide unions with relevant information as to its governance processes. This was in light of the fact that in its pursuance of saving its business, Telkom had violated those very processes.

Telkom has reportedly budgeted 1%, of its income, equating to around R180 million, on the ‘upscaling’ of employees. But Methelo claimed that this was in fact not taking place within the company, accusing them of trying to generate a positive outlook in terms of their books.

“Telkom has entered a terrain where it has become an ultra-capitalist organization, and we are opposed to it,” he suggested.

The ICTU on Friday submitted a new court application, accusing Telkom of failing to comply with the original court order. They have also accused the company of lying on the scale of the retrenchments, suggesting that around 1026 were in fact facing the axe. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)

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