Trade unions expressed concern on Thursday over Telkom’s proposed voluntary severance packages. The leadership of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) and Solidarity said they were informed on Tuesday of the packages.
Telkom had planned to offer these last year, but when Jeffrey Hedberg was appointed acting CEO these plans were put on hold.
CWU national spokesman Matankana Mothapo said in a statement released on Thursday the union “noted with extreme sadness” that Telkom was going ahead and offering the packages.
“Instead of dealing with allegations concerning its corporate governance issues … they seem to think that they can simply exonerate themselves from their alleged blunders and drop their failures squarely on the feet of the workers by suggesting these voluntary severance packages.”
The union would discourage its members from taking up the packages, the contents of which, according to Solidarity spokesman Marius Croucamp, were not open for negotiation.
The packages would be available from 1 April, a day after the expiry of an agreement concluded in 2009 between several trade unions and Telkom, in terms of which employees’ job security was guaranteed until 31 March 2011.
“Now that Hedberg has not renewed his contract, the plan is being tabled again, although it still does not make sense to get rid of skilled employees to the detriment of service delivery,” Croucamp said.
“Telkom has to put its cards on the table over the proposed packages and state the real reasons behind the move.”
He said the proposed staff reductions would cause Telkom to lose employees with irreplaceable and critical expertise, which could threaten the company’s service delivery capacity and profitability.
Staff who terminated their services on 31 March would qualify for six months’ salary. Those who left on April 30 would qualify for four months’ wages.
Telkom employs about 26 000 people. Croucamp said Telkom did not disclose at Tuesday’s meeting how many of these it was hoping would take up the voluntary severence packages.
Both Solidarity and the CWU leadership would report back to their members on the packages. — Sapa