Telkom is acting in bad faith by withdrawing a revised wage offer while unions are still considering it, trade union Solidarity said on Tuesday.
Last week, Telkom presented a revised offer to unions after a wage dispute had been referred to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation & Arbitration (CCMA), said Solidarity spokesman Marius Croucamp.
The unions had rejected Telkom’s offer of a 1,5% increase.
The revised offer consisted of a 6% increase, and stipulated that there would be no forced retrenchments for the next three years.
“Telkom withdrew this condition at a meeting this morning [Tuesday]. Trade unions have, however, already submitted the revised offer, which included this condition, to their members to obtain a mandate,” Croucamp said.
“This is a mockery of the process, and a huge frustration for union members. Telkom has now gone too far,” he said.
Telkom spokesman Pynee Chetty said the telecommunications company was still committed to working with organised labour.
Croucamp said Telkom was willing to discuss the 6% increase, but the retrenchment condition was off the table.
“Telkom’s sudden turnabout will … result in trade unions having to yet again submit a new offer to their members for their consideration,” he said. “The matter will now be pursued at the CCMA tomorrow [Wednesday] as an agreement could not be reached”.
Telkom offered severance and early retirement packages to 21 000 of its employees earlier this year. — Sapa