Telkom looking at alternatives to retrenchments

Trade union Solidarity said on 30 April that it is doing everything in its power to prevent Telkom from retrenching any of its members at the company’s Telkom Direct stores.

According to the union, Telkom has agreed to investigate suggested alternatives to retrenchments, such as offering voluntary severance packages and placing employees in vacant positions.

A task team has been appointed to discuss the latter, said Solidarity.

Telkom announced in February 2015 that it aimed to close 20 of its 95 Telkom Direct stores nationwide.

“We believe there are sufficient alternatives for those affected by the process,” said Marius Croucamp, head of Solidarity’s Communications Industry.

“We have urged Telkom to consider these alternatives before taking definite action in the form of a forced retrenchment process.”

Croucamp said Solidarity will consider proposals made by Telkom and will continue its discussions with the company in the hope of protecting its members from retrenchment.

Meanwhile, the section 197 business transferal process, in terms of which certain business portfolios within the company is outsourced, has been finalised, said Solidarity.

A total of 1,170 employees have been affected by the process, of which 724 accepted voluntary severance packages. The remaining 446 have been transferred to other companies.

“Their terms and conditions of employment will remain unchanged,” said Croucamp.

In a trading statement issued on 29 April, Telkom reported that the ongoing retrenchment processes at the group cost the company around R591 million in the last financial year.

The group said it has focused on restructuring its cost base and imposed “efficiency interventions” to achieve profit growth in its core business.

“Although we managed to further improve on cost efficiencies in certain areas, we experienced delays in the implementation of other initiatives.”

The delayed initiatives include the workforce reduction initiative and the renegotiation of certain key contracts, it said.

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Telkom looking at alternatives to retrenchments