South Africa: Unions To Take Legal Action Against Telkom’s Retrenchment Plans

21 February 2020


The South African Workers Union (SACU) and the Communication Workers Union (CWU) have reportedly threatened to either take legal action or down tools against Telkom in a bid to prevent the retrenchment of 3000 employees.

Telkom is scheduled to meet with organised labour representatives on the looming job cuts as part of a 60-day consultation process facilitated by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration.

Telkom, which is 40 percent state-owned, said last month that it plans to axe 3000 of its staff as it struggles with increasing debt and a decline in the fixed-voice market in a tough economy.

In a formal statement issued to organised labour, Telkom said that the depressed economy, regulatory instability and a tough competitive environment had taken a significant toll on its business.

In a memo to members, Keith Aimes, the national organiser for SACU, said that the alliance between SACU and the CWU was of the view that Telkom’s rationale made during the previous meeting for the retrenchment was weak.

Aimes said that the alliance was considering either embarking on industrial action or referring the matter to the Labour Court if Telkom did not provide sound reasons for the imminent retrenchments.

Organised labour involved in the talks include an alliance between the CWU and SACU, while the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA), trade union Solidarity and the Information Communications and Technology Union were working together to fight the retrenchments.

NUMSA’s Spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi said that Telkom had been unable to justify why it was retrenching 3000 out of 9000 staff during consultations last week.