The Communication Workers Union (CWU) said Telkom CEO Sipho Maseko has the ANC and EFF politicians in his pocket, which is why politicians are not fighting against job cuts at the company.
Telkom plans to retrench as many as 6,000 employees this year – which it said is necessary to become sustainable and adapt to an evolving telecommunications market.
The company recently commenced a consultation process with organised labour regarding the staff cuts, but to date the engagements have not been positive.
Unions are blaming the company’s board and senior management for the job cuts, thanks to their lack of strategic direction, operational efficiency, and technological innovation.
Solidarity has also requested a moratorium on Telkom retrenchments, arguing they threaten the company’s financial sustainability.
It requested an aggressive retraining programme to be implemented to equip workers with new skills to help Telkom grow in a fast-changing environment.
Telkom CEO has politicians in his pocket – CWU
CWU secretary-general Aubrey Tshabalala alleged that ANC and EFF politicians are not speaking against the job cuts because Telkom “silenced” them with gifts.
“If you are looking at the ANC and EFF, all of them went to meet Maseko for lunch last year and got cellphones and I don’t know what else on top of that,” said Tshabalala.
“They are all quiet about this matter. All we know is that they have not responded to our letters,” he said.
He said that any political party which claims to have the interest of the working class at heart should have spoken out against the Telkom retrenchments.
“We find absolute silence [from ANC and EFF politicians] because Maseko has got all of them in his pocket,” said Tshabalala.
CWU president Clyde Mervin added that they are planning to march to the ANC headquarters at Luthuli House to demand protection for workers.
Mervin said the union will fight for “Maseko and his cronies” to exit Telkom as “enough is enough”.
No comment from Telkom, ANC or EFF
MyBroadband asked Telkom for comment regarding the allegations that its CEO silenced politicians through gifts, but the company did not respond by the time of publication.
The ANC and EFF also did not provide feedback regarding the allegations that Telkom silenced them.
Comments by Tshabalala and Mervin
The video below shows the comments by Tshabalala and Mervin during a CWU press briefing.