Telkom on Tuesday evening confirmed union fears that a jobs bloodbath is on the cards at the telecommunications operator.
Telkom said is expects to reduce its headcount by 4 400 people through voluntary severance and early retirement packages as well as through “potential” retrenchments.
“We expect to exit around 3 400 staff but, importantly, Telkom will seek to retain these skills through outsourcing to other companies or through enterprise development,” said spokesman Jacqui O’Sullivan.
“The enterprise development option is where Telkom will seek to assist existing employees to develop their own new businesses. These businesses, which will be owned and managed by former Telkom employees, would then be able to contract their services back to Telkom along with any other service providers in this growing and competitive industry.”
Telkom’s large field services division — the arm that maintains its fixed-line network and attends to customer faults and installations — will be most heavily impacted by the changes.
“Telkom Wholesale will end up with an estimated 4 000 full-time employees in the new, separated wholesale business,” Telkom said in a statement.
“Today [Tuesday], we engaged with organised labour in our restructuring forum. In this forum, we discussed the business case and operating model approach, as well as the potential timelines for collaboration on these important actions.
“Telkom would like to collaborate with organised labour through working groups, which will focus on how we can best mitigate potential workforce impacts on our people.”
It said its proposals have not been well received by organised labour. It has postponed a company forum meeting, which had been scheduled for Wednesday, until 18 June.
In the statement, Telkom said it is in the second year of its multi-year turnaround strategy.
“Initial cost savings, major management restructuring and efficiency actions have delivered important improvements,” it said. “However, these next restructuring actions, which will effectively reshape Telkom’s operating model for the future, are critical to ensure the long-term commercial sustainability of our business.”
On Monday, TechCentral reported that a big restructuring of Telkom’s business was on the cards.
The planned changes, to be implemented over no more than five years, will lead to fundamental changes in the way Telkom does business.
It is reviewing its operating model, including looking at a “deep functional separation” between its wholesale and retail businesses.
“We must have a highly efficient and cost-effective workforce,” Telkom said on Monday. “Within our workforce there are significant opportunities to create a highly skilled and productive team by ensuring that employees have the right skills and capabilities to support the changing business. Much like most telecoms operators globally, we must move towards a leaner and more productive workforce.” — © 2015 NewsCentral Media