Telkom’s union membership numbers revealed

Telkom has provided a breakdown of its unionised employees as the group continues wage negotiations with both Solidarity and the South African Communications Union.

The fixed-line operator said on Thursday (25 July) that it had signed a wage agreement with the Communication Workers Union that would increase its personnel costs by 6.8% over the next three years.

The move will affect 16,800 employees belonging to the CWU and is meant to address the historical pay differences between white and black employees, the company said in a statement.

Two other unions, Solidarity and the South African Communications Union (Sacu) have not yet put pen to paper.

However, Telkom said in a statement on Friday (26 July) that it was close to signing with Sacu.

Telkom confirms that it has received written commitment from Sacu that, following its internal processes, the union intends to sign the proposed agreement. Telkom’s statement made at yesterday’s media briefing was based on this written commitment.

Negotiations between Telkom and unions began in March after Telkom announced that management and bargaining unit staff would be afforded the opportunity of applying for voluntary severance packages (VSPs) and early retirement packages (VERPs) until the end of August 2013.

In June Telkom said that 1,411 bargaining unit and 178 management employees exited up to 31 May 2013 as part of its bargaining process. The group has an approximate workforce of 21,000 people.

The telco noted that employee expenses increased by 14.5% in the year ended March 2013, primarily due to the R434 million cost relating to voluntary severance and early retirement packages, the average annual salary increase of 6.5% and a higher bonus provision.

Telkom reiterated that the labour agreement signed on Thursday with the CWU, is a means to address and eradicate salary disparities based on race and gender.

Membership As at 31 March 2013 As at 30 June 2013
Trade Union Number of Employees Unionised employees % Overall % Number of Employees Unionised employees % Overall %
CWU 7,151 51.65% 38.56% 6,653 52.25% 39.06%
SACU 3,815 27.55% 20.57% 3,495 27.45% 20.52%
Solidarity 2,878 20.79% 15.52% 2,586 20.30% 15.18%
Non-Unionised 4,701 0% 25.35% 4,297 0% 25.23%
TOTAL 18,545 100% 100% 17,031 100% 100%

The tables reflect union membership as at 31 March 2013, when the negotiations began, and again at 30 June 2013, the latest figures available.

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Telkom’s union membership numbers revealed