Supply chain company Barloworld Logistics has denied claims by trade union Solidarity that it plans retrenching ex-Telkom staff.
On Wednesday, Solidarity said former Telkom employees who had been transferred to Barloworld Logistics earlier this year as part of a section 197 process are again facing retrenchment.
Earlier this year, Telkom announced a restructuring programme in which it planned to outsource segments of its business as well as reduce its headcount.
Barloworld Logistics’ executive for marketing and communications, Kate Stubbs, said that her company has an outsourcing supply chain agreement with Telkom and that it plans to reduce its work premises from 35 to 17 to streamline its operations for Telkom.
Solidarity said this means 112 former Telkom employees who just joined Barloworld Logistics are going to be hit with a restructuring process for the second time this year.
“I cannot believe that Telkom did not know this and Barloworld did not know this next step either,” said Marius Croucamp, head of Solidarity’s communications industry segment.
“Under our legislation both the current and previous employer can under section 197 be held liable for unfair dismissals if any dismissals were related to transfer of a business as a going concern,” said Croucamp.
Solidarity has further threatened legal action if the former Telkom employees face job cuts at Barloworld Logistics.
The union further said that affected employees have the choice to be transferred to Barloworld’s premises in Boksburg.
They will also have the opportunity to apply for 16 vacant positions in Port Elizabeth, Witbank and Kwazulu-Natal.
But Barloworld Logistics has said that it is not planning job cuts.
Stubbs said that after Barloworld Logistics studied Telkom’s supply chain, it has proposed a more “effective warehouse network”.
“The reduction in the number of sites does not, however, imply a reduction in staff,” he said.
“Currently, there are 112 employees operating on these sites and 26 of those are already employed at the Boksburg facility,” Stubbs said.
Regarding location changes, Stubbs said Barloworld Logistics has initiated discussions with affected staff. He further said 86 staff members are affected and the company plans to “identify the best opportunity for them within the revised warehouse network”.
“We hope to retain the skills we have within the organisation and to locate those skills where they are most needed, which is why we are currently not considering retrenchments,” she said. — Fin24