Cell C to cut more jobs: union

Trade union, Solidarity says it has received confidential information that Cell C is planning further retrenchments in addition to those that have already been announced.

Earlier this month, Cell C said it had begun to inform some of its employees of possible retrenchments as part of a restructuring process across the business.

“At this time, and subject to consultation with the affected employees, this process could affect up to 190 employees whether through possible retrenchment or redeployment in other areas of the business,” the group said on 10 October.

In the letters to its employees, as seen by Solidarity, Cell C said it aims to finalise the process by 31 January 2015.

Cell C employs approximately 1,458 staff.

On Wednesday (22 October), Solidarity warned that the ongoing restructuring and retrenchments in the information and communications technology industry put employees under immense pressure.

Marius Croucamp, head of industry in the communications sector at Solidarity, said: “There have been far more retrenchments this year than in previous years. Certain companies are retrenching people on a large scale while only a few companies, such as Vodacom, have not yet announced any large-scale retrenchments.

“We are currently seeing a pattern in the industry whereby retrenchments lead to overburdened employees and reduced production, which in turn may lead to further retrenchments. We will therefore urge employers during consultations that the welfare of its workforce should be the industry’s first priority,” Croucamp said.

The trade union highlighted the following retrenchment processes in the mobile industry:

  • Telkom – Approximately 1,000 employees have been affected by the process, of which 676 employees have already been placed in alternative positions and 302 have accepted voluntary severance packages. The company is in the process of placing a remaining 104 employees in alternative positions.
  • MTN – 847 employees are affected, of which 200 have already accepted voluntary severance packages. Placements in alternative positions are still ongoing. There may be as many as 354 forced retrenchments.
  • Cell C – 190 employees are affected by the process. However, there is a strong possibility that there may be even more retrenchments.

Solidarity said that the recent increased job losses in the industry to pressure on the South African economy which, among other things, gives rise to sharply increased input costs.

“In addition, the implementation of new technologies that the industry’s survival fundamentally depends upon, has become unaffordable. The trade union also pointed out that staff is not being adequately trained to master the new technologies in the industry,” it said.

Cell C provided the following comment:

“Cell C is continuously assessing the operational requirements and needs of certain areas in the company in order to enhance efficiencies, streamline the business and avoid a duplication of functions.

“This process is dynamic and it is possible that restructuring and/or optimisation and/or rightsizing may take place in the company from time to time. This process is still ongoing and Cell C cannot comment on any future decisions it may or may not take.”

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Cell C to cut more jobs: union