Telkom will use race when determining who it lets go of in its latest round of restructuring, trade union Solidarity alleged on Monday.
“This follows after Telkom today [Monday] indicated in a section 189 notice to trade unions that employment equity will be one of the selection criteria during the restructuring process,” Solidarity said in a statement.
“If Telkom proceeds with this, it will mean that white employees will bear the brunt of the telecommunications giant’s retrenchment process,” it added.
Solidarity’s Marius Croucamp said the union on Monday warned Telkom in a letter to withdraw the section 189 notice.
“We believe that the application of affirmative action targets as selection criteria during retrenchment processes is contrary to the Employment Equity Act. Based on this, we requested Telkom to withdraw the notice,” Croupcamp said in the statement.
“It is not the first time Telkom wants to use employment equity as selection criteria during a restructuring process. Last year, Solidarity launched a massive campaign in this regard, after which Telkom eventually agreed not to use employment equity as criteria.”
He said Solidarity will consider further legal action against Telkom if the company does not take heed of its objections.
Telkom, he said, intends to retrench 4 400 employees through voluntary severance and early retirement packages and intends transferring an additional 3 200 employees to other companies.
“We believe the section 189 notice is premature and that Telkom should first provide for dispute resolution before the process can continue. In addition, the use of race as a selection criteria is not in the best interests of the company and it also contravenes the principles of Telkom’s restructuring forum,” Croucamp said.
He said it is “worrying” that Telkom wanted to enforce such a comprehensive process that would irrevocably change the lives of thousands of people without sufficient consultation.
“Our members do not have enough information to be able to take the necessary decisions. This process simply has to be halted until proper consultations with trade unions have taken place and all the information have been made available.”
TechCentral reported on Friday that Telkom had failed to reach agreement with the three labour unions it recognises over its latest restructuring plans.
The three unions – Solidarity, the South African Communications Union and the Communication Workers Union – last week declared a formal dispute with Telkom.
In a statement, Telkom said it had several engagements with organised labour following a meeting in the company’s restructuring forum of 9 June, where management shared plans for a “deep functional separation” of Telkom’s main operating businesses.
Telkom’s wholesale business unit, which includes its field-service workforce, is set to be most heavily affected by the latest round of restructuring.
Telkom said it intends making use of a R100m enterprise and supplier development fund to establish businesses with outgoing Telkom staff, who would then be “well placed to contract their services back to both Telkom, as well as other companies”. — © 2015 NewsCentral Media