Nearly 2 400 employees’ applications for voluntary severance packages have been accepted by telecommunications operator Telkom.
According to Solidarity, 2 393 applications were accepted by Telkom management. These staff will serve their last day at the company tomorrow (Friday), the union said in a statement.
According to Telkom’s most recent annual report, the company employeed 18 441 staff at the end of March 2015. Telkom’s workforce will therefore shrink by 13%.
Telkom spokesman Jacqui O’Sullivan confirmed the figure provided by Solidarity. She said most of these employees will end their service to Telkom on Friday, although some have deferred departure dates.
In the statement, Solidarity’s Marius Croucamp said the number of applications accepted by the company “comes as no surprise to the union”.
“Given the volatile climate within Telkom, we anticipated that a significant amount of employees would prefer to leave the company,” he said.
“Nonetheless, we remain highly concerned about the exodus of skilled Telkom workers and how this will affect the company’s future endeavours and delivery of services.”
Last week, despite union objections, Telkom announced it was extending voluntary severance and early retirement packages to all employees, including those that belong to trade unions.
The move came less than two weeks after Telkom suspended a section 189 retrenchment process under instruction from the labour court. It decided at the time to offer voluntary packages to all non-unionised full-time employees, but last week decided to extend the offer to unionised staff, too.
It had always been Telkom’s intention to offer the voluntary packages, which the company described as “generous”, to all employees.
About 60% of Telkom’s workforce is unionised. The three recognised trade unions are Solidarity, the South African Communications Union and the Communication Workers Union.
The closing date for applications for the voluntary packages was last Friday, 27 July. — © 2015 NewsCentral Media