Telkom is currently involved in a process to reduce its staff numbers by thousands as part of the company’s turnaround strategy.
Telkom plans to cut 4,400 jobs through voluntary severance packages or voluntary early retirement packages. A further 3,400 employees will be transferred to outsourced companies.
Telkom said these cuts are needed to fundamentally improve the way it does business, and will instill a high-performance culture in the company.
On 9 June Telkom met with organised labour to start discussions about these business objectives, and how to reduce its staff numbers.
Worker unions have criticised the changes, and the talks between them and Telkom fell apart in June.
Last week the Labour Court in Johannesburg has ruled that Telkom’s restructuring and retrenchment process be stopped.
Telkom CEO Sipho Maseko has told employees that despite the court order to withdraw its Section 189 notices to unions, the group’s drive to restructure will continue.
Telkom’s staff numbers through the years
While the latest Telkom staff cuts are significant, they are not the biggest staff cuts the company has seen.
Coming into 2000, Telkom shed over 10,000 jobs. This came as the company aimed to apply international norms regarding “fixed lines per employee” and “staff cost to revenue” to its business.
Telkom staff numbers were reduced from 61,237 in 1999 to 49,128 in 2000 in what became known as “Management of Staff Numbers”. Staff numbers continued to fall over the next few years to 25,575 in 2006.
Apart from a small increase in 2007, Telkom staff numbers continued to decline for the next decade.
The graph below shows Telkom’s employee numbers from 1991 to 2015.