“Persistent” and “illegal” industrial action in the form of “go-slows” at Telkom’s call centres escalated at the weekend, with staff allegedly being intimated and employees walking out, the telecommunications operator said on Monday.
This comes as Telkom announced it will proceed with the “automatic transfer of staff” from various divisions, including its call centres, its supply chain area and IT environments, to new employers on 31 March. This is after “unions failed to secure a majority consensus on an additional offer from the company”, Telkom said.
“Our service levels have been under severe pressure for a number of weeks,” the company said in a statement.
“We would like to apologise to all our customers for the poor service levels. We have brought additional staff into our already outsourced call centres and have increased our resourcing of the non-call centre customer options,” said spokesman Jacqui O’Sullivan.
Telkom’s discussions with organised labour, regarding the section 197 outsourcing process, has been underway for five weeks. The South African Communications Union (Sacu) and Solidarity recently asked that Telkom make voluntary severance and early retirement packages available to employees affected by the outsourcing plan.
The unions have also requested that Telkom move the transfer date out from 31 March to 30 April. The company said it agreed to both requests. However, although Solidarity and Sacu accepted Telkom’s offer ahead of the deadline, the Communication Workers Union withheld the majority consent, which meant no agreement could be reached, it said.
“Solidarity and Sacu engaged very aggressively for their members and we believe the variation agreement was a reasonable middle ground for all parties. However, a majority consent is required and without such an agreement in place, we will have to proceed with the automatic transfers as planned at the end of this month.”
Telkom’s section 189 consultations, related to the closure of 20 Telkom Direct stores, continue on Monday, facilitated by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration, the company said. — © 2015 NewsCentral Media
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