We are not targeting Whites: Telkom

Telkom has rejected union claims that race is the key selection criterion and that white employees will be targeted during its controversial restructuring process.

Telkom announced earlier this month that it plans to cut 4,400 jobs through voluntary severance packages or voluntary early retirement packages.

It also confirmed that 3,400 employees will be transferred to outsourced companies.

Solidarity said in a statement on Monday that Telkom indicated in a section 189 notice to trade unions that employment equity will be one of the selection criteria during the restructuring process.

“If Telkom proceeds with this, it will mean that white employees will bear the brunt of the telecommunication giant’s retrenchment process,” it said.

In a statement on Tuesday (23 June), Telkom said that in its notice issued to the unions in terms of section 189 of the LRA, it proposed that “LIFO (Last in First Out) subject to the retention of scarce and critical skills and where applicable, employment equity considerations” be used as the selection criteria.

“The inflammatory and misleading inference by Solidarity that race is the key selection criterion and that white employees will be targeted, is unequivocally rejected,” said Jacqui O’ Sullivan, Telkom managing executive for group communication.

“It’s regrettable that Solidarity has chosen to play the race card again, in the context of a process that needs to address critical challenges that the company is facing. Telkom would prefer to focus on the consultation that it has been initiated and will take place within the structured LRA process, rather than pursuing media headlines with misleading hyperbole,” O’ Sullivan said.

Telkom said it looks at a number of employment criteria in deciding to bring people into the company or to retain them during times of change.

“Most importantly, we are a technology company so our people must be equipped with the necessary skills to perform the required body-of-work. They would also be required to have the correct qualifications and training and importantly, the necessary aptitude and attitude to be a part of the Telkom of the future,” the company’s head of communications said.

Telkom had also wanted to use employment equity as selection criteria during a restructuring process in 2014, Solidarity said on Monday, noting that the listed operator eventually backed down from the process.

The trade union has threatened possible further legal action against Telkom if the company does not take heed of its objections.

Telkom is 39.76% owned by government, while the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) has a 13.25% stake in the company.

Republished with permission from BusinessTech

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We are not targeting Whites: Telkom