Telkom has moved to clarify allegations by labour unions around the restructuring process at the telecommunications operator.
“Telkom would like to place on record the facts surrounding its restructuring process to dismiss the baseless allegations by labour unions regarding the process and criteria under consideration.
“The company rejects allegations that race is being considered as the only criteria for the placement of employees in Telkom’s new structure,” said Telkom on Tuesday.
According to media reports, the South African Communications Unions (Sacu) said that the operator could be planning to dismiss 9 500 workers, while Solidarity has said that the company is targeting whites in its restructuring plans.
“The fact is that Telkom’s focus is on retaining the right skills for its turnaround strategy and will consider several criteria throughout its restructuring process,” said the operator in Tuesday.
It further said that prior to and throughout the restructuring process, it has consulted all stakeholders, including representative labour unions, to ensure that facts are communicated.
In addition, it stated that the allegation that it will target 9 500 workers was unfounded.
“The fact is that Telkom’s focus is on retaining the right skills for its turnaround strategy and will consider several criteria throughout its restructuring process.”
Qualifications and experience, the employees’ potential, the last in-first out principle when more than one employee qualified for appointment into the same position and employment equity form part of the criteria that the company looks at.
“It is important to note that employment equity is only one of the four criteria applied to this process and that Telkom, as any South African company, is required in terms of the Employment Equity Act to comply accordingly.”
Telkom said the entire management pool, which it seeks to reduce from the consultative process currently underway, is made up of 2 650 managerial staff.
The company is not targeting specific numbers of individuals and is aiming to reduce the number of management layers and achieve employee cost: revenue ratio of 25% over the next five years.
“Employee costs currently make up 30% of revenue,” it added.
The objective is to bring leadership closer to customers by removing unnecessary layers of management, which will improve customer service and experience.
Alternatives such as outsourcing and joint ventures may also be explored as part of the business and organisational restructure in the future, said Telkom.
The restructuring process was seen as an imperative for the survival of the business into the future and its success.
Telkom has underperformed for several years, as its share of market in fixed voice and data continues to decline and fixed-to-mobile substitution has intensified competition.
The fixed voice market makes up more than half of Telkom’s revenues, and is in decline. – SAnews.gov.za
The above response from Telkom is in reaction to trade union Solidarity’s establishment of the Racekom.co.za web site.
The web site launched Solidarity’s new campaign to fight Telkom using race as a criteria for its looming retrenchments, saying; “Telkom is carrying out large-scale retrenchments where race is used as a criterion. If you work at Telkom and you’re white, you’re guilty.”
“Guilty, because you’re the ‘wrong’ race and you’re costing the company BEE points. Forget about the years of loyal service, your qualifications, and the positive contribution you make.”
Solidarity said that it has already lodged documents with the Labour Court to put a stop to Telkom’s race-based retrenchments.
“In terms of legislation, race may not be used as a criterion during a retrenchment process,” Solidarity deputy general secretary Johan Kruger said in a statement.
On Tuesday Kruger said the union was prepared to take the matter to the Constitutional Court if necessary, saying; “This type of practice is destructive and will simply give employers a way to improve their Black Economic Empowerment grading during retrenchment processes.”
“The trade union wants to mobilise as many South Africans and, in particular, Telkom clients to send thousands of petition letters to the CEO of Telkom, Sipho Maseko, to have this unacceptable criterion for retrenchment withdrawn,” the union said.
Solidarity encouraged people to become involved in the campaign in the following ways:
- Send your petition letter to Telkom CEO Sipho Maseko.
- Send an SMS petition. SMS the word “RACEKOM” to 34802 (R2/SMS). Each SMS will be counted as a petition message and Solidarity will forward it to Maseko on your behalf.
- “Like” Solidarity’s Facebook page and share our posts on the campaign with your friends.
- Tweet about the campaign, using #RACEKOM.
- Tell your friends about the campaign.
“Solidarity fights for you when your skin colour makes you a target in a retrenchment process where no one should take the blame,” the union added.
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