Telkom has decided it will forge ahead and implement a wage agreement, despite protests from Solidarity, one of three unions recognised by the telecommunications operator. Telkom has been in gridlock with two unions, Solidarity and the South African Communications Union (Sacu), for months. The Communication Workers Union, the largest union represented at Telkom, has already agreed to the company’s wage offer.
The company’s decision to implement the agreement follows a meeting on Wednesday with Sacu, whose president, Michael Hare, has indicated that it will sign the agreement next week. Telkom says that based on the outcome of a Sacu ballot process, the union did not get an outright majority not to accept the company’s offer.
Telkom says it will implement the wage agreement in respect of all employees that fall within the defined bargaining unit, “members of Solidarity included”.
At the centre of Solidarity’s unhappiness over the proposed wage deal is that it introduces a new remuneration model which it feels will leave many of its members out of pocket in years to come because many of them will not see increases in two or three years’ time if it’s accepted.
Solidarity spokesman Marius Croucamp told TechCentral in July that Telkom’s offer is not linked to inflation and that although 60% of workers will receive an increase this year, if the new model is adopted only 40% will get a pay rise next year and only 30% in 2015. Consequently, Croucamp said Solidarity had rejected the offer.
Telkom now says it has “initiated the implementation process which will entail a special payroll run and the payment of part of the back pay by Wednesday, 7 August, with the rest being paid out on Friday, 23 August”.
In a statement, Telkom group CEO Sipho Maseko describes the company’s relationship with the unions as “robust yet constructive”.
“Going forward, the same spirit will be required to confront the many challenges facing our organisation,” Maseko says. “With a shared vision for this organisation, no challenge will be insurmountable.” — (c) 2013 NewsCentral Media