The Information Communication Technology Union (ICTU) has slammed Telkom CEO Sipho Maseko over the large number of retrenchments at the company over the past seven years.
In January, it was revealed that the operator wanted to cut 3,000 jobs as part of the first phase of a retrenchment process to compensate for poor earnings and its poor share price performance.
The ICTU, which represents certain Telkom employees, confirmed reports that over 2,300 of these employees have taken voluntary retrenchment packages.
It stated that further retrenchment consultations are under temporary reprieve due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but Telkom had indicated it could forcefully retrench over 590 employees after the pandemic has subsided or the lockdown is suspended.
“Maseko, who was appointed in October 2013, had arrived in Telkom whilst it had 23,000 employees plus contractors. Today, the workforce is officially 7,200. A job loss of 15,800 in seven years,” the ICTU said.
It added that Telkom’s strategy of wanting to compete in both the fibre and mobile market is confusing, as the company was shedding copper-based customers, decommissioning exchanges, and reducing capped infrastructure investment.
The ICTU also acknowledged Telkom’s recent downgrade to junk status in line with the national credit rating, stating that this would lead to further financial troubles at the company.
Telkom’s retrenchment process comprises two phases, with the next phase of job cuts originally set to take place from May to August 2020.
MyBroadband contacted Telkom to confirm the number of employees who had chosen to take voluntary retrenchment packages.
The operator confirmed that a total of 2,364 employees have opted for voluntary severance and voluntary early retirement packages. The employees are from Telkom’s Consumer Division, Openserve, and Yellow Pages.
The company offered the packages on 6 February 2020 as an alternative to forced retrenchment.
Employees who opted for the packages exited the organisation at the end of March, Telkom said.