Telkom has suspended its current restructuring and retrenchment process following an agreement with trade union Solidarity on Thursday, the trade union said.
“This includes halting the process wherein Telkom intended to use race as a criterion for layoffs,” telecommunications spokesman Marius Croucamp said in a statement.
“In terms of the agreement, Telkom will suspend all planned selections, appointments and retrenchments.”
The parties also agreed to appoint a facilitator to commence facilitation of the restructuring process in terms of section 189 and section 189A of the Labour Relations Act on Monday.
“New criteria for the restructuring process will be tabled and considered during a consultation process managed by the appointed facilitator,” he said.
“The agreement sends a signal to employers all over South Africa that Solidarity will not tolerate race-based layoffs. We will not let our members be traded in for black economic empowerment points.”
He said the trade union also insisted restructuring processes should take place in consultation with employees and be accompanied by a well-designed business strategy.
On 3 July, Telkom spokesman Pynee Chetty said the company would use various criteria during retrenchments.
“It is important to note that employment equity is only one of the criteria that will be applied to these processes.”
Other criteria included qualification and experience, best fit for the job and “last one in, first one out”.
“That will be when more than one employee qualifies for a position,” Chetty said at the time.
Telkom confirmed late on Thursday evening that it had agreed to further consultation with organised labour through an external, independent facilitator.
“This consultation is a continuation of the dialogue that the company has had with staff and organised labour over the past few months regarding its restructuring,” a spokesman said in a statement.
“Telkom has agreed to this process to ensure that all stakeholder views are considered and factored into the restructuring process. The company will therefore not make any further announcements relating to this process until the facilitated consultations with organised labour have been concluded. The first facilitated consultation meeting will take place on Monday next week.” — Sapa, with TechCentral