Trade union Solidarity will not blindly back Telkom’s opposition to local-loop unbundling (LLU), which it has done in the past. It will now instead remain neutral on the issue and monitor how the process unfolds, spokesman Marius Croucamp says.
Solidarity is the second largest union represented at Telkom.
Croucamp says Solidarity is concerned about Telkom’s regulatory division following news that the company’s head of regulatory affairs, Andrew Barendse, has resigned. Barendse resigned last week and is moving to rival Vodacom.
“LLU is a sticky issue,” Croucamp says. “It’s turned into a case of Telkom versus the rest, and that’s become complicated.”
Solidarity previously “backed Telkom outright” on unbundling, but has decided to follow the lead of other players in the industry and will be “neutral” on the subject. Croucamp says the union’s primary concerns are job security and job preservation, but will wait to see what the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) decides to do on LLU.
In May 2012, Icasa’s complaints and compliance committee ruled that a request by Neotel to access Telkom’s local loop was valid and that Telkom’s response to it was inadequate.
However, the committee also found that there was no regulatory framework to give practical effect to LLU.
Telkom and Neotel were told to discuss the matter and return to Icasa three months later, but Telkom has since taken the matter to the courts.
Last month, Icasa published draft LLU regulations that set out how operators will be able to access Telkom’s last-mile infrastructure. Interested parties had until Monday to submit comments.
Croucamp says Solidarity will meet with Telkom next Monday as part of scheduled meetings of a “restructuring forum”. He says the reason for the meeting is unclear and that he hasn’t been able to get an agenda, but that he expects some sort of announcement to be made.
“We’re not sure if they’ll be extending voluntary retrenchments,” Croucamp says, “but we’re expecting some sort of announcement. We’re hoping it’s not some sort of knee-jerk reaction to talk about quick wins on the books.”
Croucamp says Solidarity will also use the meeting to raise its concerns about executive pay increases at the company. — (c) 2013 NewsCentral Media