Telkom owes employees R5 million

Solidarity has won an arbitration award against Telkom related to the interpretation of salary increases for employees due from April 2017.

This comes after Solidarity had agreed with Telkom in 2016 to give a 6% salary increase to staff that would take effect in April 2017.

Solidarity contended that Telkom, however, did not keep to the agreement and did not abide by its provisions. As a result, more than a thousand employees had been disadvantaged unfairly.

“Telkom decided unilaterally to calculate the 6% increase on the 50th percentile of each individual’s functional area and not on the total package of each employee as per the agreement,” Linda Senekal, Solidarity’s sector coordinator for the communication industry, said.

Solidarity said this matter has dragged on since 2017 as Telkom took the first arbitration award given in Solidarity’s favour on revision.

The matter was taken on revision to the Labour Court, which referred the matter back to arbitration.

After several arbitration sessions between February 2020 and May 2021, Solidarity again won the case.

“What makes this such a huge victory is the fact that a major institution such as Telkom can from now on be taken to task not to treat agreements casually,” said Senekal.

“Solidarity signed the agreement based on the mandates it had received from its members and would not have accepted an agreement that was not in the best interests of the employees and members.”

“Our main victory lies in the fact that we can now admonish Telkom to do the right thing in future, adhering to agreements and to not simply amend agreements and policies unilaterally at the expense of employees.”

In terms of the award, Telkom must pay employees according to the agreement’s provisions as agreed upon in 2016, which means that the 6% salary increase must be granted based on the individual’s total package.

Where applicable, employees must be remunerated retrospectively from 1 April in terms of the 2016 agreement.

Telkom said it has received the CMMA ruling in relation to the Collective Partnership Agreement (CPA) agreed to in 2016.

“In light of the fact that this matter has been in dispute for a protracted length of time, and in the spirit of goodwill and progress on the matter, we have decided to honour the ruling,” Telkom said.

The total number of employees impacted is 1,175 and the outstanding amounts will be paid to them in the August 2021 payroll.

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Telkom owes employees R5 million