Telecommunications giant Telkom should consult labour unions before going ahead with voluntary retrenchments, Solidarity said on Monday.
“The mere fact that Telkom is considering retrenching employees, whether or not it is voluntary, means that, in terms of legislation, they first have to consult with trade unions,” trade union Solidarity spokesman Jaco Kleynhans said in a statement.
The move to announce plans to go ahead with voluntary retrenchments was an “act of bad faith”, said Kleynhans.
“Nearly 2 530 members of management received a memorandum in this regard on Friday. However, trade unions were only notified of the voluntary retrenchments during an information session on Friday.”
Kleynhans said Telkom could not give unions an indication of how many people the company hoped would accept voluntary packages.
“Solidarity demanded that a two-year moratorium be placed on the retrenchment of members of management. However, Telkom was not in favour of the proposal, which is a clear indication that these voluntary retrenchments simply have to pave the way for forced retrenchments,” said Kleynhans.
Telkom and the union were expected to meet on Friday to discuss the matter further.
But the process should be halted in the meantime, said Kleynhans.
Also, the trade union warned that Telkom ran the risk of losing “a large number of skilled managers”.
“Nearly a quarter of all managers in Telkom are 50 years and older. This means that a large number of employees with many years of experience and a lot of expertise could now leave Telkom,” Kleynhans warned.
Telkom announced on Friday that it would offer voluntary packages to all managers, emphasising there was no obligation to accept.
Telkom acting human resources chief JC Smith said in a statement on Monday that the offer was part of an internal process. “The company is currently in ongoing engagement with key internal stakeholders with regard to the matter. Furthermore, Telkom respects that its dealings with managers who may be interested in either offer is a confidential matter,” Smith said. — Sapa