Telkom said The Alliance, consisting of Communication Workers’ Union (CWU) and the South African Communication Union (SACU), is the only union it recognises.
The company said in an internal email that The Alliance is the only recognised entity for purposes of organisational and collective bargaining rights at Telkom.
This is because The Alliance is the only union which meets the 30% threshold for union recognition at Telkom.
The company said it invited all unions with claimed membership at Telkom, regardless of their level of their representation in the company, to its Section 189 consultation process.
“Solidarity, ICTU and NUMSA were invited to participate in the current Telkom SOC Section 189 consultation process only,” the company said.
“Their participation is strictly limited to this process and should not be interpreted as meaning that Solidarity, ICTU and NUMSA have been granted any organisational or collective bargaining rights at Telkom.”
It added that Solidarity, ICTU, and NUMSA have no recognition status at Telkom and, therefore, are not eligible to participate in any union and management interaction structures at the company.
Telkom retrenching employees
Telkom is currently busy with a process which will see it retrench as many as 6,000 employees this year.
Telkom recently started its consultation process with organised labour as part of the Section 189 process.
The company initially indicated that it was planning to retrench 3,000 employees as part of a process which will take place in two phases.
The Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA), however, highlighted that 3,000 Telkom employees are set to be retrenched in the first phase alone.
It said another 1,000 Telkom employees face retrenchments in May 2020 while an estimated 2,000 staff members could lose their jobs at Telkom subsidiary BCX shortly after that.
Telkom has now confirmed that it plans to cut 3,000 staff as part of the first phase and that the number of staff cuts as part of the second phase has not been determined.
Telkom blaming changes in technology
Telkom said the retrenchments are partly a result of investments in new technologies and revenue streams, particularly in its mobile business.
It also blamed difficult economic conditions and having to reposition itself amid fundamental changes within the telecommunications industry.
“Telkom has also seen a sharp decline in fixed-voice and interconnection revenues as customers shift towards new technologies, such as fibre to the home. This trend will continue,” it said.
Telkom spokesperson Noma Faku further complained that telecoms regulation in South Africa “was set up to disadvantage Telkom and advantage mobile operators”.
Faku added that the planned staff cuts at Telkom are necessary to ensure the sustainability of the business going forward.